In addition, Johnson also made several more accusations, including that people at the daycare had the level system preschool encounters with animals, that “Peggy drilled a child under the arms” and “Ray flew in the air. Ray Buckey was questioned, but was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence. The following procedure is obviously an unpleasant one, but to protect the rights of your children as well as the rights of the accused, this inquiry is necessary for a complete investigation.
Videotapes of the interviews with children were reviewed by Michael Maloney, a British clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry, as an expert witness regarding the interviewing of children. Some of the accusations were described as “bizarre”, overlapping with accusations that mirrored the just-starting satanic ritual abuse panic. Some of the abuse was alleged to have occurred in secret tunnels beneath the school. Several excavations turned up evidence of old buildings on the site and other debris from before the school was built, but no evidence of any secret chambers or tunnels was found.
Johnson, who made the initial allegations, made bizarre and impossible statements about Raymond Buckey, including that he could fly. Though the prosecution asserted Johnson’s mental illness was caused by the events of the trial, Johnson had admitted to them that she was mentally ill beforehand. In 1989, Peggy Anne Buckey’s appeal to have her teaching credentials re-instated after their suspension was granted. During the trial, George Freeman was called as a witness and testified that Ray Buckey had confessed to him while sharing a cell.
Ray Buckey was cleared on 52 of 65 counts, and freed on bail after more than five years in jail. The media coverage was generally skewed towards an uncritical acceptance of the prosecution’s viewpoint. Wayne Satz, at the time a reporter for the Los Angeles ABC affiliate television station KABC, reported on the case and the children’s allegations. He presented an unchallenged view of the children’s and parents’ claims.
15 million, the longest and most expensive criminal case in the history of the United States legal system, and ultimately resulted in no convictions. Never did anyone do anything to me, and I never saw them doing anything. I said a lot of things that didn’t happen. Anytime I would give them an answer that they didn’t like, they would ask again and encourage me to give them the answer they were looking for.
I felt uncomfortable and a little ashamed that I was being dishonest. But at the same time, being the type of person I was, whatever my parents wanted me to do, I would do. When you once believed something that now strikes you as absurd, even unhinged, it can be almost impossible to summon that feeling of credulity again. In many states, laws were passed allowing children to testify on closed-circuit TV so the children would not be traumatized by facing the accused.
The arrangement was supported in Maryland v. These interviews were instrumental in the jury members failing to produce a guilty verdict against Buckey, and several similar trials with similar interviewing techniques produced similar not-guilty verdicts when juries were allowed to view the recordings. These records ended up being extremely valuable to the defense in similar cases. In 1990, parents who believed their children had been abused at the preschool hired archeologist E. Gary Stickel to investigate the site.