Archive for the ‘McMartin Preschool Trial’ Category

Chronology of the McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials

October 2, 2008

McMartin Timeline

Has graphic descriptions of crimes.

Chronology of the McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials

May 1983 Judy Johnson enrolls her 2 1/2-year-old son at the McMartin
Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California.

June, July 1983 Judy takes her son to a pediatrician because he was
complaining about his bottom hurting. The doctor has no specific
diagnosis. The next time the child complained of having a lot of pain,
she took him to a different doctor. Again the doctor had no
explanation. In fairness there was virtually no information on the
symptoms of sexual abuse of small children at that time.

August 12, 1983 Judy was shopping at a grocery store with her son in
the cart when he complained again of severe pain. Judy checked his
diaper and found blood.
She went to yet another respected local pediatrician and he diagnosed
the boy as having been sodomized. The doctor, mandated to report cases
of child sexual abuse, reports the case to authorities.

August 18, 1983 Judy Johnson meets with Detective Jane Hoag to be
interviewed about her son’s symptoms for the investigation.

August 30, 1983 As requested, Johnson takes her son with her to the
police station for another interview. He is 2 years and 8 months
old. He names Ray Buckey.

September 9, 1983 Police Chief Harry Kuhlmeyer sends out a letter to
200 McMartin Preschool parents informing them that Ray Buckey is
suspected of child abuse and asking them for information. As other
victims come forward, an unspecific list of suspected street blocks
and areas in town is circulated.

September 15, 1983 Ray Buckey is arrested on suspicion of child
molestation but released soon after.

October 17, 1983 The District Attorney’s Office asks Kee MacFarlane, a
consultant for the Children’s Institute International, to interview
child sex abuse victims who attended the school.

November 1983 Children’s Institute International interviewers begin diagnosing
former students of the McMartin Preschool as having been sexually
abused. Dr. Astrid Heger does medical examinations with an innovative
diagnostic tool called the culposcope. This microscopic examination
technique allows slide pictures to be taken of minute scarring caused
by penetration.

December 1983 One of the teachers, and defendant Babette Spitler,
is promoted to director of the McMartin preschool in Peggy McMartin’s
place. Ms Spitler begs the parents to keep the children in the school
and refer the school to others as well.

January 13, 1984. Virginia McMartin Preschool shut down after 28 years

in business. The first McMartin Preschool located 1 mile west and this
second school were in operation totaling over 37 years. Virginia kept
records on file cards of over 3,000 former and current students.

February 2, 1984 KABC reporter Wayne Satz shocks television viewers
with reports of a massive child abuse scandal at the McMartin

February 1984 Seven defendants are arrested and charged with 207
counts of child molestation and conspiracy. Over 90 McMartin parents,
file a civil suit against Virginia McMartin, Peggy Buckey, Betty
Raidor, Babette Spitler, Peggy Ann Buckey and Ray Buckey for assault
and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress with one
attorney. Others file suit with other attorneys. All suits are
eventually dropped by civil attorneys after the 6 year statute of
limitations expired before the trial ended. Civil suits by families
are never refiled.

March 11, 1984 A number of other daycare centers in the Los Angeles
area are closed by the California State Department of Public Social
Services. Ten additional schools are closed in the South Bay area.

March 22, 1984 Teachers Peggy Buckey, Virginia McMartin, Ray Buckey,
Peggy Ann Buckey (Ray’s sister), Mary Ann Jackson, Betty Raidor, and
Babette Spitler are indicted on 115 counts of child sexual abuse.

April 2, 1984 The L. A. Times reports that students at McMartin have
been fondled, raped, drugged, photographed nude, forced to witness
animals being slaughtered and threatened to keep silent.

May 23, 1984 The prosecution files 93 new counts. The indictment count
reaches 208, involving 40 alleged child victims.

Fall 1983 to March 1984 Nearly 400 children were interviewed at
Children’s Institute International. Forty-one children are listed as victims in a
complaint filed by the State.
The count of those diagnosed as sexually abused reaches 360 students.
DA Robert Philibosian announces the 1976 Karen Klass murder case will
be reexamined to determine if it could be linked to the McMartin case.
Klass was the ex wife of Righteous Brother Bill Medley. She had been
murdered approximately an hour after leaving her 5 year old son at the
pre school. Klass’ husband also died shortly after the McMartin
indictments in March 1984. His death was ruled an accident after he
drove off a mountain road one afternoon in Oregon.

March 22, 1984, Los Angeles Grand Jury issues indictment charging 7
former teachers with 115 counts

April 7, 1984 Bail revoked for 5 defendants who had been free on bail
when 400 additional sex acts are presented.

May 1984 Arsonist attempts to burn down the empty cinder block
preschool building, causing over $10,000 in damage. The room where
children identified the entrance to the tunnels, the “C” Charlie room,
was most badly destroyed. The classrooms are repainted, new furniture
is built and trees trimmed in time for the jury to tour the site.

May 24, 1984 An additional 92 counts of child molestation are filed
against all 7 defendants. A charge of conspiracy to commit lewd and
lascivious acts by force or threat of force on a child under 14.
Count is now 207 against 42 children.

June 8, 1984 Preliminary hearing begins.

June 1984 Bail for Peggy Buckey is set at $1 million; Ray Buckey continues to be
held without bail.

July 12, 1984 A Federal Grand Jury is impaneled to begin its own
investigation of the case.

August 8, 1984 Prosecutor Lael Rubin announces that the seven McMartin
teachers committed 397 sexual crimes, in addition to the 115 for which
they already faced charges.

August 17, 1984 Preliminary hearing begins. The pretrial begins with
Judge Aviva Bobb and prosecutors Lael Rubin, Glenn Stevens and
Christine Johnston.

October 26, 1984 Judge Aviva Bobb consolidates hearing for Buckey and six
There are 7 defense attorneys one for each of the 7 defendants. Any
objection by defense can be (and are) repeated 7 times. Each objection
has to be argued separately, enormously extending courtroom time used
by the defense.

November 1, 1984 Sheriff Sherman Block announces that the Sheriff’s
Department will enter into the investigation and be responsible for
allegations in relation to the operation of the McMartin preschool
which are not part of the current court case. The number of “Uncharged
suspects” is estimated at 85+.

January 7, 1985 Doctor Astrid Heger testifies that she found physical
evidence of sexual assaults on 33 of the child witnesses.

March 1985 A group of nearly 50 McMartin Preschool parents arrive at
the lot adjacent to the school formerly used as a play yard for the
school and begin searching for the tunnels many of the children talked
about. A dead turtle is found with roots growing up through its
shell. The District Attorney is called immediately. A few days later,
an archeological firm, SRS, hired by the District Attorney’s Office
begins its own dig. Using the Geonics EM31Terrain Conductivity meter,
the side lot is searched no more than 6 inches in depth. The team
never entered the preschool building. Several turtles and other animal
remains were found.

March 6, 1985 Judy Johnson was put on 72 hour watch at a hospital. She
is released with no diagnosis of any mental disorder.

April 29, 1985 An increasing number of suspected perpetrators have
been probed by detectives since September of 1984. Fifty additional
individuals are placed under investigation. A special elite task force
consisting of 21 detectives and prosecutors is formed by the Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department by Chief Sherman Block and headed
by Lieutenant Richard Wiley to look at these and other “uncharged
suspects. Investigations of 5 preschools in the area are not expected
to produce any arrests for over a year.
“Under the current legal system, we cannot file criminal actions
because of their age and inability to qualify in a court system,”
states Wiley.

May 18, 1985 Governor signs SB46 giving judges the discretion to use
closed circuit testimony for child victims of sexual abuse. This law
years later passes the Supreme Court and becomes national law.

June 11, 1985 Judge Bobb rules that child witnesses will not be
allowed to use the new statute allowing child victims of abuse to
testify over closed circuit TV. The prosecution immediately announced
that it would not call any of its remaining witnesses. Only 5 of those
28 were willing to testify at all and then only by way of closed
circuit TV. Six other witnesses dropped out because Rubin said they
could not withstand even the protective TV procedure. The remaining 16
witnesses had been withdrawn by their parents after they saw the
effects of lengthy cross-examination on the early witnesses.
This reduces the number of witnesses from 43 to 13 and, as a result,
the reduces the number of counts.

June 14, 1985 Prosecutors add an additional 50 counts raising the
number to 241 counts.

January 1986 Prosecutor Glenn Stevens is ordered to hand in his
resignation form the District Attorney’s office after he is caught
lying to his superiors about leaking information to the media.

January 9, 1986 Judge Aviva Bobb orders all 7 defendants held over to Superior
Court trial with 135 counts of molestation and conspiracy. Thirteen of
the 41 child original witnesses remain. The cost of the 18 month
hearing was estimated at $4 Million. The indictment had been 115
counts. Ultimately 20 counts were added.

January 17, 1986 Before the case is assigned to a trial judge and
after loosing 28 witnesses because of brutal defense tactics during
the pretrial weakened the case, District Attorney Ira Reiner decides
to drop charges against five of the seven defendants. Reiner tells
parents that Betty Raidor has enough remaining counts to face trial,
but says he thinks she would not fit in prosecuting mother and son,
Peggy and Ray Buckey. The two are prosecuted on 79 counts and 20
counts, respectively, of child sexual abuse.

January 23, 1986 Peggy Buckey is released on $295,000 bail after bail
is reduced from $495,000.

August 1986 Former prosecutor Glenn Stevens contracts with
screenwriter Abby Mann to do a book and a movie in which he would be
portrayed as an ambitious attorney whose conscious got the better of
him. Voluminous transcripts of Steven’s taped interviews at Mann’s
Beverly Hills Mansion were transcribed. Stevens accuses Rubin of being
a liar and DA Philibosian of playing up the publicity. Mann goes to
the defense and asks to be hired as an investigator so the information
can be included in the trial. The trial stops while these allegations
are reviewed.
Stevens also jokes about Judy’s dog being sodomized and says she is a
“banana boat.” Judy was never diagnosed with any mental illness
despite having been on a 72 hour watch at UCLA County Hospital.
Eventually, Mann produces the information he gathers from the
McMartins and defense attorneys into the movie `Indictment.’

December 19, 1986 Judy Johnson is found dead at 2:45 PM in her
Manhattan Beach house by police after concerned neighbors called. Judy
died before having a chance to testify at the trial

April 20, 1987 Jury selection for the Superior court trial begins. Ray
Buckey and his mother Peggy face 100 counts. Ninety-nine counts of child
molestation and 1 count of conspiracy.

January 13, 1987 Opening statements begin.

July 29, 1987 First parent testifies.

August 1987 The first victim witness, a girl now age 12, takes the stand as a
witness for the prosecution.

October 12, 1987 Judge Pounders dismisses 27 of the 100 counts. Some
parents, again refuse to let their children testify under adverse

December 10, 1987 Retired former police investigator Paul Bynum is
called to testify at the trial by prosecutor Lael Rubin. The morning
he was to appear, a juror’s home was burglarized and Bynum’s testimony
was rescheduled for the next morning. Bynum was found dead by his wife
at 5:45 that morning, shot in the head by a .38 caliber pistol.
Bynum had conducted the first search for evidence at the preschool
site in 1984 at the request of Ray Buckey.
“None of the half dozen people questioned who were close to Bynum
could think of any reason why his involvement in the case might have
driven him to suicide,” reported Kevin Cody of the Easy Reader in
Manhattan Beach. “Paul was kind of a worrier,” said Stephen Kay, a
deputy district attorney and friend of the Bynum family, “but there
was no hint of suicide. He was very upbeat about his wife and new
daughter, both of whom he adored.”

October 19, 1988 The defense opens its case after 61 witnesses have
finished testifying for the prosecution.

December 1988 Paul and Shirley Eberle, prolific pornographers of the

1970s (Finger magazine) and editors of the pornographic tabloid, LA Star, publish The
Abuse of Innocence, their version of the trial thus far.

February 15, 1989 Ray Buckey is released from jail on $1.5 million

February 1989 Ray Buckey is released on bail after spending five years
in jail.

May 16, 1989 Peggy Buckey takes the stand in her own defense and
vigorously denies all allegations.

July 26, 1989 Ray Buckey takes the stand and denies he molested

July 27, 1989 Danny Davis, Ray Buckey’s attorney tops the list as the
highest paid court appointed attorney at $509,340.00 for the 1986-87
fiscal year.

November 2, 1990, Jurors begin deliberations.

January 18, 1990 The jury returns its verdict in the first McMartin
trial. Peggy and Ray Buckey are acquitted on 52 counts. The jury
deadlocks on 13 counts, all against Ray Buckey. The jurors are polled
and say they believe molestation took place at the preschool but that
the prosecution did not prove the case. The expressed disappointment
at not hearing more from the children.

January (late) 1990 District Attorney Reiner announces that he will
retry Ray Buckey on eight of the 13 counts involving three girls.

February 5, 1990 Deputy District Attorneys Joe Martinez and Pam
Ferraro are assigned to the case. Incredibly, after the trial, it is
discovered that Pam Ferraro was a former student of the McMartin
Preschool. Photographs of her sitting on Peggy Buckey’s lap reading a
book, sitting at a table with Peggy, Virginia and several of other
students as well as a McMartin preschool class picture including Peggy
and Virginia.

April May, 1990 Tunnels are found under the foundation of the
McMartin preschool building by a team of Archaeologists headed by Dr.
Gary Stickel. Ground Penetrating Radar recently developed by the U.S.
Army is used to define the location of anomalies under ground. Three
segments of tunnel, one over 45 feet in length with a 9′ x 9′ room
area are found exactly where the children said they were. District
Attorney does not use the evidence because of time and money
constraints and the fact that they would have to start a new
investigation of their own at the site as they did in 1985. The
discoveries are widely reported in the news.

May 30, 1990 With the entire team of archaeologists, geologists still
uncovering evidence of filled in tunnels, the McMartin Preschool is
demolished by a bulldozer ordered by the new owner, developer, Arnold
Goldstein. Final cost of the archaeological project, paid for by
parents and donations, exceeds $53,000.

June 8, 1990, 83 year old Virginia McMartin takes the stand at her
grandson’s retrial and after only 10 minutes and several outbursts in
front of the jury, testimony is halted. A year earlier when she
testified in front of Judge Pounders her testimony ended in the same
outrageous manner. Judge Pounders had threatened to have her jailed,
but later declared her medically infirm.
July 2-3 1990 Lawyers present closing arguments.

July 27, 1990 On their 15th day of deliberations, the jury tells the
judge they are hopelessly deadlocked on all 8 counts. The judge
declares a mistrial.
Juror L. I., a 64 year old treasury department employee said , “I don’t
know how you could get 12 people to be unanimous in this case. There
are too many unanswered questions. Too much time has passed.”
Again because of money and time constraints, DA Ira Reiner decides not
to ask for a third trial of Ray Buckey. The first two prosecutions
have consumed over $15 million and seven years of court time. He is
under tremendous political pressure because he has failed in
prosecuting the case.

May 1991 Parent is ordered to pay one dollar each to McMartin
defendants after they sue him for defamation of character. They had
asked for $500,000 each.

1995 Virginia McMartin dies at age 88. HBO shows a docudrama, “The
Indictment,” written by McMartin sympathizer Abby Mann and starring
James Wood. The McMartins are paid over $75.000 each for their version
of the story. Mann wins an award for his work. Oliver Stone had
originally backed the project but minimized his involvement after
public outrage. By 2000, Betty Raidor and Peggy McMartin Buckey die also.

1996 Single mother Jackie M. who saw the archaeological investigation
of the school site to its conclusion commissions the archaeologist,
Dr. E. Gary Stickel to write a formal report. All other professionals
involved cooperate in gathering facts and assisting Dr. Stickel in
composing a formal report.

1998 Formal report of the Archaeological Investigation at the McMartin
Preschool is completed at the cost of $3,000. Jackie and the
archaeologist present the findings at the APSAC (American Professional
Society Against Abuse of Children), Children’s Hospital Conference in San Diego, California