Sexual Abuse of Children: Contested Issues and Competing Interests
Kathleen Coulborn Faller
Criminal Justice Review, 9 2004; vol. 29: pp. 358 - 376.
...children from Manhattan Beach (including McMartin children) having more problems in...the research as an initiative ofthe McMartin parents (p. 227). Similarly, Butler...Summit, R. (1994). The dark tunnels of McMartin. Journal ofPsychohistory, 21(4), 3...
Protecting Victims of Child Sexual Abuse: A Case for Caution
Philip Jenkins and Daniel Katkin
The Prison Journal, 1 1988; vol. 68: pp. 25 - 35.
...articles in New York Times on the McMartin case, 1986-87. Cohen, Stan. Moral...Lindsey, Robert. Articles on McMartin case in New York Times, 1984-86...1985. Lindsey, Robert. Articles on McMartin case in New York Times, 1984-86...
The Huffington Post, February 11, 2007
Ah, yes, underground tunnels. The same kind of tunnels described by the kids at McMartin preschool, who also claimed they were the victims of Satanic ritual abuse, claims which were utterly mocked in the mass media. In fact, they still are mocked in the mass media - despite the evidence to the contrary, including wide-spread sexually transmitted diseases among the kids. People Magazine is not particularly noted for its investigative journalism, yet had a reporter "investigate" the McMartin pre-school story. After interviewing Dr. E. Gary Stickel, the UCLA archaeologist commissioned to excavate the McMartin site, the reporter wrote back to headquarters that no tunnels had been uncovered. When Dr. Stickel heard this, he was surprised, as he told ,the reporter the exact opposite, which his 185 page Report of the Archaeological Excavation of the McMartin Preschool Site duly notes. "I told her the children said there were tunnels and we found tunnels.
,It was as simple as that." After alerting People of the apparent failure to communicate, People began researching his evidence - and then the story was bumped. People, incidentally, is owned by the Time Warner, the people that bring us both Time and Life magazine.
E. Gary Stickel, Ph.D. - Archaeological Investigations of the McMartin Preschool site, Manhattan Beach, California - Executive Summary "....The project unearthed not one but two tunnel complexes as well as previously unrecognized structural features which ,defied logical explanation. Both tunnel complexes conformed to locations and functional descriptions established by children's reports. One had been described as providing undetected access to an adjacent building on the east. The other provided outside access under the west wall of the building and contained within it an enlarged, cavernous artifact corresponding to children's descriptions of a "secret room"....The McMartin preschool in Manhattan Beach, California was the first of what has since been described as a national epidemic of multi-victim, multi-perpetrator accusations of sexual and sadistic abuse which erupted in the mid 1980's.....The results of the survey by Ground penetrating Radar proved consistent with discoveries of the subsequent excavations, all of which confirmed not only the basic descriptions of children but also specific details of location, interior features and putative function."
Responding to abuse
A matter of perspective
,Lecturer, Department of Social Policy and Human Services, University of Western Sydney
The themes that are described below were first voiced when the backlash developed in 1984 after the Jordan, Minnesota, preschool sexual abuse case. Summit reported that the themes to emerge in media coverage from the Jordan case condemned an scapegoated prosecutors, police and therapists, an portrayed child advocates as conspiring ,to entrap children and destroy families. It is instructive to note that when "[these] allegations were examined in the Federal Court of Appeals (Eighth Circuit, District of Minnesota, No. 855243) ,the justices found then groundless, endorsing both the motives and the methods of the child advocates" in the Jordan case.  Notwithstanding this court finding, strategies for responding to accusations of abuse that developed after Jordan  included the formation of a nation movement with international links. 
The fact that VOCAL's views about the Jordan case were not changed by the Federal Court Justices' position is illustrative of, rather than an exception to, the movement's response to legal decisions in sex abuse cases. Moreover, the group's interpretation of the case as a "witchhunt" became the slogan for their response to similar cases.
,VOCAL's first newsletter also shows the impact of the Jordan case in galvanising a defence for those who claim to be falsely accused of sexual abuse. Research into false allegations was quickly targeted A call was made for anonymous completion of a questionnaire ,on "suggestions for improving the investigation process so that the innocent are no subject to the Jordan, MN form of harassment". As described below, while a key focus has been on the therapists, the group's targeting of the legal system through the media is also readily evident. 
Ritual Crime and Media Prejudice
PHP: Open Source Professional Portal System
In 1983, a case that challenged the notion that children are safe in their schools erupted in Manhattan Beach, California. The McMartin Preschool had fast become an institution in Southern California and parents competed to enroll their preschoolers in that facility. It was
,a family enterprise established by Virginia McMartin and staffed by her daughter, Peggy Buckey and Peggy’s son, Ray. An outcry by the mother of a four-year old son with a subsequent report to police from her child’s pediatrician, initiated a personal and legal ordeal that lasted for six years and cost the state of California 15 million dollars.
Eventually 40 children were named victims and 208 charges of child abuse resulted in indictments against McMartin, the Buckey’s and three other teachers at the preschool. The case went to court and three trials ended in hung juries. The prosecution decided not to retry. A poll of the jury after the last trial in which Ray Buckey was the sole defendant revealed that although the jury believed the allegations against Buckey, the jury did not believe the prosecution had made its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Although the child victims of McMartin reported the existence of tunnels under the school where they were taken to be victimized, the prosecution never thoroughly investigated the area, making only a superficial pass over the surface terrain. UCLA archeologist Gary Stickle did an excavation of the site immediately after the school was raised and did indeed find a network of tunnels beneath the McMartin school. These tunnels contained artifacts including children’s clothing, jewelry, toys, and the remains of small animals indicating that the children’s stories were accurate to the extent that they knew of the tunnels.
However, the prosecution was unwilling to initiate a new trial with the new evidence on the basis that by that point in time, the jury pool was totally contaminated. Also, it should be noted that the only book published that is solely devoted to the McMartin case was authored by Paul and Shirley Eberle (1993). The Eberle’s published soft core magazine, "LA Star" and the hard-core, "Finger", depicting S&M, bondage, and sex with children. Objectively, one would hardly think they represent the best interests of children.
The McMartin case sparked a flurry of interest in allegations of ritual abuse and a backlash evolved that ultimately changed the way in which the media investigated and reported ritual abuse cases. The organization, Victims of Child Abuse Laws (VOCAL) established itself as the early advocate for those who had been accused perpetrators of child sexual abuse and ritual abuse.
Under the auspices of Ralph Underwager, a Minnesotan psychologist and Lutheran minister, VOCAL demonstrated media savvy and bombarded the media with its own perspective on allegations of child sexual abuse and ritual abuse. Underwager and his wife, professional counselor (and former student) Hollida Wakefield, became darlings of the defense and testified in over 500 cases in which they never found sexual or ritual abuse allegations to be true. They wrote numerous articles published in the IPT Journal (their own inhouse publishing group) supporting their position and advising attorneys representing accused perpetrators of defense strategies.
The backlash included Richard Gardner, MD, a psychiatrist who, without any research or study, developed the theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). According to Gardner, allegations of child abuse leveled primarily at fathers involved in custody suits were initiated by vindictive mothers seeking to punish their former spouses for abandoning the marriage. Gardner testified in countless cases, never validating a single allegation of abuse and never testifying on behalf of a woman.
In 1992, psychologist Jennifer Freyd, pregnant with her first child, began to recall events from childhood that caused her to feel anxious and depressed. She consulted a therapist and later, outside the therapy arena, memories of inappropriate conduct and abuse emerged. When she confronted her parents asking for verification of her memories, they denied any abuse and subsequently began writing letters to Jennifer’s university colleagues advising them
Fortunately, Jennifer’s reputation remained unscathed and she retained her faculty position at the University of Oregon. Her parents, Peter and Pamela Freyd subsequently formed the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), founded on the principle that the real victims of child abuse allegations are the accused and that allegations based on recall of previously suppressed events are created by unscrupulous or misguided therapists. Joined in their endeavors by Underwager and Wakefield, Jolly West, Martin Orne, Richard Ofshe, Margaret Singer, Harold Leif, and others, the FMSF inspired numerous lawsuits against therapists who treated individuals alleging histories of sexual and ritual abuse.