Judy Johnson reported to the police
On August 12, 1983, Judy Johnson reported to the police that she suspected her two year old son had been sexually abused at the McMartin Preschool. On September 8, a letter was sent out to all parents from the Manhattan Beach Police Department about the case. The case cost millions of dollars and the letter caused mass hysteria. The McMartin Preschool case involved seven teachers, including Ray Buckey, who were accused of the sexual abuse of children; however, none of the teachers were ever charged with any crimes.
In the 1980’s child abuse was becoming aware to new parents. Child protective services were getting busier; nearly all states soon had social services for children. Physical abuse had risen by 58 percent, sexual abuse had tripled and 1,100 children died in 1986 from maltreatment. Children books like “You Can Say “No!” by Rick Chacaon’s were introduced. At the McMartin Preschool hysteria had risen concern with daycares and nursery schools. During the 1980’s women just began getting in the workforce, so it was new to think their own children could be in danger.
Ray Buckey who was a suspect, got arrested September 7, 1983 and got released on the same day. The letter sent out the day after to parents, stating “Please question your child to see if he or she has been a witness to any crime or if he or she has been a victim.” “ THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO INDICATE THAT THE MANAGEMENT OF VIRGINIA McMARTIN PRESCHOOL HAS ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THIS SITUATION”. At the time there was no scientific evidence to prove that any of the teachers were guilty. Every child was sent to the Children’s Institute International. This organization claimed that it would convince children to talk about an abuse even when they didn’t want to. The mass hysteria continues, and the school was closed down January, 1984. Other schools around the McMartin Preschool were closed down as well.
When the trial was near end, it was thought that children were lying about the abuse. Some believed the questioning was so harsh the kids started to believe they were abused. It’s known that one of the children denied seeing a game called “Naked Movie Star” played at his preschool, the therapist replied: “Well, what good are you? You must be dumb.” The children were talked like this by the cops, therapist, and social workers. In the end, some children believe they were abused while many others say they were not.
The McMartin Preschool case ended after six years in 1990, being the longest trial in American history, and the most expensive. However, none of the teachers were guilty on 52 counts. “I never did anything. My son didn’t do anything, nor my mother, my daughter, or any of the teachers,” Peggy Buckey said. “I just can’t imagine ever molesting a child” (“How”). Some of the children were interviewed years later. Cody asked: “Do you have an independent recollection of being abused?” The children responded with “no,” yet, they stated they believe that they had abused (“30 years later”). The court claimed the children grew up to be successful.