Testifying under new court guidelines intended to streamline the lengthy proceedings in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case, an 8-year-old girl told in a wispy voice Tuesday of having been raped, photographed, tied up and placed in a dark closet by her teachers five years ago.
The child, who bit her lip nervously and frequently glanced at her father during nearly three hours on the stand, said she had been penetrated vaginally and rectally by three teachers, using their fingers, and that one teacher, Raymond Buckey, 26, also raped her.
"When Ray touched you, did you tell him it hurt?" asked Deputy Dist. Atty. Lael Rubin, one of three prosecutors in the preliminary hearing.
"Yes," the girl answered.
"What did he say?" Rubin asked.
That " 'It doesn't matter,' " the girl said softly.
The dark-haired child named and pointed out two other defendants as having molested her, "Miss Betty," Betty Raidor, 65, and "Miss Peggy," Peggy McMartin Buckey, 58. She added that the McMartin school's matriarch, Virginia McMartin, 77, watched and clapped during some of the so-called "naked games" allegedly played at the Manhattan Beach nursery school she founded.
The girl's account was similar to that of the two children who have already completed their testimony, a 7-year-old boy who was on the stand for six days, and a 10-year-old boy who was questioned for 16 days.
She told of games such as "naked movie star" and "cowboys and Indians" that began when the teachers drew the classroom's curtains. She told of being forced to strip during both games. In the "naked movie star" game, she said, she and the other children were instructed to pose in various positions in front of a still camera operated by Raymond Buckey. She also told of being tied up during the "cowboys and Indians" game.
And she spoke of watching an animal killed--in this instance the slashing of a turtle's underside--and being told that her parents would be harmed if she told of the sexual abuse.
However, the girl also testified that her teachers sometimes put her--alone, naked, tied up with string and with a handkerchief over her face--in a dark closet at the school. She said she cried and was scared, but told no one.
She testified that Raymond Buckey took off his clothes and forced her to touch his penis, and that he reminded her on her final day at McMartin not to tell anyone about the touching.
During two hours of cross-examination Tuesday, defense attorney Walter Urban struggled to find an area of questioning that would not draw sustained objections from the prosecution on grounds that they were irrelevant or argumentative or violate the new guidelines issued by Municipal Judge Aviva K. Bobb.
Before the new witness began her testimony Tuesday, Bobb said she had decided to require that testimony be limited solely to the counts charged in the criminal complaint--in this instance four counts of molestation and conspiracy involving Raidor and the two Buckeys. She said that the defense will be allowed to ask questions relevant only to those counts, and cannot elicit collateral testimony in an effort to produce contradictions.
Defense attorneys have objected to the new rules, saying that they limit the attorneys' ability to elicit inconsistencies and what one lawyer labeled "different, outlandish, embellished, and bizarre" testimony, as well as to show that the testimony was rehearsed and programmed.
Urban, who represents defendant Raidor, focused on testing the girl's memory of the details of the activities she had described.
In his questioning, he implied that the child's failure to confide the allegations in anyone before being interviewed at Children's Institute, a center for child abuse victims, is one indication that the abuse never happened, and that her courtroom testimony was carefully "practiced."
Recalls 'Shy Child'
Outside the courtroom, before the girl testified, Raidor said she remembered her as "a shy child, a beautiful child. I was her only teacher and nothing ever happened to her."
A pediatrician testified earlier in the hearing that she had examined the girl and found scarring indicative of sexual abuse.
After the child was excused for the day, prosecutor Rubin told reporters that "she's very clear. . . . She's been very direct in what she's testified to. And one of the things that has made a difference is that there's much more control (by the judge) in terms of the extent of cross-examination."
The girl, a third-grader who said she likes playing soccer and Irish dancing, will resume her testimony today in the preliminary hearing, which is being held to determine whether the seven defendants should stand trial.
Charged with 208 counts of molestation and conspiracy involving 41 children left in their care are former teachers McMartin, her daughter, Peggy McMartin Buckey, and grandchildren, Peggy Ann Buckey, 28, and Raymond Buckey. Also charged are Raidor, Mary Ann Jackson, 57, and Babette Spitler, 36.