Feb. 2, 2018

“In August 1983 [Manhattan Beach, Calif., police chief Harry] Kuhlmeyer was presented with the McMartin Preschool case. Therapists and medical doctors had identified dozens of McMartin children as sexual abuse victims. Raymond Buckey, the sole male teacher at the preschool owned by his grandmother Virginia McMartin, was the primary suspect….

“Parents demanded Buckey’s immediate arrest, but Kuhlmeyer refused. His detectives could find no corroborating evidence.

“ ‘Why hadn’t any of the suspects copped a plea, why no mea culpas, no suicides? No one got drunk and bared his soul. If everything the kids said happened, it looked like the perfect crime. Even the Mafia has snitches,’ Kuhlmeyer said.

“The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office… drew up an arrest complaint about Buckey, but Kuhlmeyer refused to sign it. [The DA took the case to the grand jury, which routinely rubber stamps indictment requests.]

“Kuhlmeyer’s unpopular stance was vindicated seven years and $15 million in court costs later when two McMartin trials ended with no convictions.”

– From “Police chief during McMartin case refused to charge abuse suspects” by Kevin Cody in Easy Reader News (Jan. 31)

No such doubt, by either police or prosecutors, slowed the rush to put the Edenton Seven behind bars. The result, of course, was a disaster of McMartin dimensions.

Chief Kuhlmeyer died Jan. 12 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 94.