Child Sexual Abuse

September 18, 1987

Report Outline
Special Focus


▪ In Howard County, Md., this summer, a 7-year-old girl, who earlier had told investigators she had been sexually molested, testified via closed-circuit television in the trial of a worker at the day-care center she attended. The emotionally distraught girl was unable to tell the judge the name of the center or her teacher, or whether “any bad things” happened to her there. The judge ordered the charges against the worker dropped.

▪ In Los Angeles in August, the judge in the much-publicized McMartin Pre-School sexual-abuse trial chided defense attorneys for extended and relentless cross-examination of child witnesses, “These children are being pushed to the limit, “said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders. “It seems to me no child could answer these questions.” Legal proceedings against defendants Raymond Buckey and Peggy McMartin Buckey, who are charged with 100 counts of abusing children at their day-care center, have been under way for more than three years.

▪ At about the same time, the Los Angles County district attorney's office refused for a while to bring sexual abuse charges against a public-school teacher, despite claims by 17 students that the man had molested them. Although charges were later brought against the teacher, angry police sex-crimes investigators charged that the initial reluctance to prosecute was due to prosecutors' fear of stirring up more of the kind of negative publicity that has surrounded the McMartin case.

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