Hope the kids don’t learn from this one

By Claudia Curry

The American justice system never ceases to disappoint me.

Quick update: An investigation of the McMartin Pre-School in California concerning child molestation began six years ago. This investigation resulted in a three-year criminal trial, the longest-lasting and largest sexual abuse case in U.S. history, and cost taxpayers a grand total of more than $15 million.

Last Thursday, the children who testified in the case, along with their parents, listened in disbelief as the judge announced 63-year-old Peggy McMartin Buckey and her son Raymond Buckey not-guilty on 52 counts of sexual abuse.

A total of 13 children took the stand during the trial, some for as long as 35 days, and described in detail the alleged sexual abuse they endured by Peggy McMartin Buckey and her son.

Controversy arose after the jury viewed a video tape of compiled testimonies from 400 area children. 354 claimed to be molested by at least one member of the McMartin family, but the jury concluded that the questions asked in the interviews were leading and perhaps the children had been pre-coached by their parents.

My point is—the jury made it seem very clear that because the majority of testimony used in the case was from children, they had reason to question its validity more than they would if the witnesses were older.

Sure, some children are capable of a tall tale here and there, but why would so many kids point the finger at two specific people and describe the events in detail over and over again, if they weren’t telling the truth?

Children all over the country these days have been taught that if somebody hurts them to not be afraid to tell their parents or someone they trust about it. These children did come forward and admitted to things they can’t be all too comfortable talking about.

One juror said she believed some of the children were molested, but not beyond a reasonable doubt that the McMartins were responsible. My question to her would be—if not by the McMartins, then by who? Were these children just trying to blame the McMartins for a crime committed against them by someone else?

She also said she believed some of the children, but some of the testimonies were just too unbelievable. I’ll have to agree—child rape, pornography, and satantic rituals are serious accusations but when hundreds of children admit that they have been victims of these acts by the same two people—unless the defendants had firm alibies, I would feel obligated to believe the victims.

Needless to say, many people seem upset about the McMartin case verdict. Some blame the prosecution, others blame the jury. In a case such as this, any evidence besides testimony from the victims is almost impossible to find and the prosecution had to do the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough to convince the jury.

In today’s society, where many atrocious and unbelievable things happen, children need to be protected, but equally important, they need to be believed when they come forward and tell the truth or else how will they ever learn the value of honesty and justice?