The McMartin Preschool Trial

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McMartin Preschool Trial
Written by Courtney Peet
April 12, 2011

The McMartin Preschool Abuse trail will forever be known as the longest and most expensive trial in American history. Over the course of six years, the American government spent over 15 million dollars investigating and prosecuting a case that didn't lead to a single conviction (The O.J Simpson trial, in comparison, costing 8 million.(Robinson, 2005)).(Linder, 2003)However more importantly, left in its wake an estimated 360 children that were claimed to have been molested or abused in some way.(Wikipedia, 2011) Although despite the claims, no one paid a higher price than Raymond Buckey, the chief defendant and grandson of the preschools founder, Virginia McMartin. Buckey suffered five years in jail for crimes, most people believe today, that he never committed.(Linder, 2003)
Raymond Buckey was the son of school administrator Peggy Buckey and grandson to the preschools founder, Virginia McMartin. Alongside him in facing the 208 charges of child sexual abuse were; his Mother, Grandmother, Sister Peggy Ann Buckey, and three of the preschools other teachers(Vera, 2006).
The investigation began in 1983 with a phone call to police in Manhattan Beach, California. Judy Johnson, the mother of a two and a half year old son Billy, who attended McMartin, told Detective Jane Hoag that 25 year old teacher Ray Buckey sodomized her son.(Linder, 2003) What happened next however is still disputed, some sources say that Johnson's son denied having been molested, and others say he confirmed it. Johnson, who was an alcoholic and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had also claimed that her son had been molested by her estranged husband, two facts that had been withheld from defense attorneys for three years(Robinson, 2005).
Johnson's belief of the molestation came from her son having painful bowel movements, but medical examinations showed no signs of the alleged abuse. However despite the lack of evidence,police conducted a search of Buckey's home(Linder, 2003). After confiscating items such as; a rubber duck, a graduation robe, and Playboy magazines, Hoag arrested Buckey on September 7th. Buckey was questioned but the DA decided not to prosecute.
Johnson also made further more bizarre accusations against the preschool such as Peggy Buckeydrilling children under the arms, Ray Buckey flying in the air as well as people at the daycare traveling to zoos seeking sexual encounters with giraffes(Wikipedia, 2011)(McMartin preschool trial).During the slew of accusations by Johnson, the Chief of Manhattan Beach police, Harry Kuhlmeyer issued a "strictly confidential" letter to around 200 parents of past or present McMartin students (Robinson, 2005). The letter stated that their children might have been abused and encouraged parents to question their children.
"September 8, 1983
Dear Parent:
This Department is conducting a criminal investigation involving child molestation (288 P.C.) Ray Buckey, an employee of Virginia McMartin's Pre-School, was arrested September 7, 1983 by this Department.
The following procedure is obviously an unpleasant one, but to protect the rights of your children as well as the rights of the accused, this inquiry is necessary for a complete investigation.

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