From Santa Claus To Lions
Before the preliminary hearing, the boy visited some young friends of his (a boy and his sister) who had also attended the McMartin preschool. He began to talk to them and their mother about a devil house. The other boy reportedly responded that he also remembered the devil house and the lions that had been inside. He also remembered taking a plane ride with the school's owner and four or
five other children.
The second boy's parents, according to court testimony of the father, had once been friends with the school's owners. The father had even been the school Santa Claus for several years in a row. Like many other McMartin children, whose parents were reacting to rumors of sexual abuse, the second boy underwent questioning by his parents to
find out if he had been abused. Like those children, he denied ever being abused at the school.
But as time went by the parents heard more stories through the grapevine, told by other parents whose children had started talking about abuse after being interviewed at CII. As the boy's parents continued to pick up rumors and watched news reports about the case, they became convinced that both their children had also been molested. The father began to tell them that Ray had done
"crummy" things to the McMartin children. He attended a neighborhood meeting where he listened to the abuse stories of other parents and met CII's chief child interviewer, Kee MacFarlane. He confided to her that some of the children she had interviewed were his daughter's friends and that he believed his children had also been molested. Upon receiving MacFarlane's assurance that the interviews would be therapeutic, the father agreed to allow her to interview them.
MacFarlane interviewed both children for about two hours each, using leading questions combined with peer pressure:
"You may not be smart enough to remember, but if you are, you can help." Afterwards, the parents were shown short selected portions of the video that reinforced the fear that their children had been molested. Then MacFarlane told them (the parents) that they must believe in and express pride in their children's disclosures of abuse.
The parents then filed a lawsuit against the school but had to drop it temporarily after the father was called to testify in the preliminary hearing. He told the court that he intended to refile the lawsuit if the defendants were found guilty.
The parents began to talk frequently to their children about McMartin. The whole family sat together and watched newscasts of the case. The father now queried his children whenever he heard new stories of abuse, including accusations of off campus abuse, to
find out if they had been similarly abused. Two months after his CII interview, the boy began to talk about being threatened with a knife and gun and taking a four hour round trip airplane ride.
The entire family attended 15 organized community meetings where other parents and therapists talked openly about the McMartin case. The father attended therapist moderated rap sessions where parents discussed coping with the psychological impact of McMartin on their families. After indictments were handed down against the original seven defendants, the family joined other families to watch a video of their arrests and celebrate.
The boy clearly understood from his own parents' admonitions and listening to other parents and their children that it was imperative to testify at the preliminary hearing in order to put the
"bad people [the defendants] in jail. The father became a member of "Together We Can," a lobbying group whose membership was restricted to McMartin parents whose children had been diagnosed as sexually abused by CII therapists. Together these parents listened to guest speakers and exchanged their stories of alleged abuse at the preschool. The father also became a board member of the Children's Civil Rights Fund. His heavy involvement with that group as a lobbyist led to local and national media exposure.
The father testified that in March 1984 his daughter talked about being taken to a farm by the teachers and seeing witches at the school. Her tales of off campus abuse may have been spurred by a list presented by CII to parents. The list contained potential off campus molestation locations that parents were encouraged to take their children to as part of the investigation. Four molestation locations identified by the boy were written down and handed over to the DA. One check-out point was a Palos Verdes cliff area over which children had allegedly been thrown by their teachers.
The boy did not talk about underground tunnels prior to March 16, 1985 when he and his father joined scores of other parents and their children to dig for tunnels on a vacant lot next to the school with a backhoe. But when asked by his father for locations of tunnel entrances and exits, the boy said he did not know of any. In subsequent testimony at the preliminary hearing, however, he testified about lions kept underneath a trap door and remembered the location of the secret room.
Boy: Ray would open this door in the floor and there would be lions.
Defense Attny: What did they do?
Boy: They would run around and roar.
Defense Attny: What did Ray tell you?
Boy: That lions would jump up and get us if we told what happened.129
The boy also claimed that he had been taken to a mortuary by Ray and had observed dead bodies lying in coffins, another story that his father had never heard before.