The Indictment – biased movie – McMartin Preschool Trial

Cult and Ritual Abuse – It’s History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America – Noblitt and Perskin – Prager (2000) p. 141 – 142 (1995 book – p.184 2000 book) The McMartin Case is also the subject of the cable movie, Indictment, produced by Home Box Office. Several children’s advocacy groups have expressed concerns that the film’s focus appears to be slanted in favor of the accused perpetrators. The newsletter for the organization, Believe the Children, contains an impassioned plea to its readers to relinquish their subscriptions to Home Box Office (HBO) in protest of the film’s airing. An article featured in the newsletter entitled “Sex Abuse, Lies and Videotape”(1995) describes the genesis of the program and voices its concerns that the true victims of the McMartin case, the children, might be damaged by the perspective of the film’s author, Abby Mann. According to the article, Mann and his wife, Myra, became advocates of the operators and staff of the McMartin preschool during the course of their trial. Because of the Mann’s involvement in the case and their relationship to the accused perpetrators, the article expressed the concern that the film might reflect an unbalanced portrait of accused and accusers such that roles might be reversed in the eyes of the viewing public. This has, in fact, been proven to be a correct assumption. Reviews of the cable movie featured in magazines such as Time (Bellafante, 1995) and TV Guide (McDougal, 1995) on the film’s depiction of an overzealous prosecuting attorney, a mentally unbalanced parent of a child victim, and a punitive therapist all lend themselves to the perpetuation of the ideas that the true victims are the alleged perpetrators. Ironically, this film also casts the media in an unfavorable light implying that the media’s over-the-top reporting of the event led to a veritable witch hunt.”

The movie “The Indictment,” produced for Home Box Office, about the McMartin trial, was criticized by several children’s advocacy groups for being slanted in favor of the accused perpetrators. According to an article featured in the newsletter “Sex Abuse, Lies and Videotape,” (1995) the film’s author Abby Mann and his wife Myra became advocates of the operators and staff of the McMartin preschool during the McMartin trial. The article expressed the concern that the film might reflect an unbalanced portrait of accused and accusers such that roles might be reversed in the eyes of the viewing public. This has been proven to be a correct assumption.”

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One Response to “The Indictment – biased movie – McMartin Preschool Trial”

  1. jmwasthere Says:

    In the courtroom, Abby and Myra Mann made no secret of their friendship with the defendants. In fact, the day the verdicts were read, Mr Mann flipped the parents waiting at the crosswalk in front of the courthouse, the finger from the passenger seat of his white limousine. Myra was driving.
    The Buckeys were paid for their stories (reportedly $75,000 each) , as is usually routine in “true life” type movies. None of the parents were consulted about their side of the story. Therefore the movie was entirely based on the defendants’ and defense attorneys version. The prosecutor, Glen Stevens, who was fired (for lying to the DA about talking to the media) during the trial was interviewed. Transcripts of that interview were passed around while the movie was being written. Mr. Stevens had been casting himself as a hero in his own version of a movie or book he was writing in a diary. Too bad for him, Mr. Mann left him out of the script.
    I knew Judy Johnson and the way they portrayed her as a delusional and somehow sexually psychotic woman is pure fiction. Dr Summit, MD, on staff at Harbor UCLA where Johnson was taken when she was taken after she was found sick in bed after a week, stated that she was never diagnosed with any mental disease. Not schizophrenic. The first place I saw that was in Debbie Nathan’s writings. Nathan never met with nor spoke with Ms Johnson.

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