Anaheim high school teacher Peggy Ann Buckey will receive more than $183,000 in back pay, interest and retirement benefits for the time she was on compulsory leave after being charged in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case, a Los Angeles judge ruled Thursday.
After a sensational trial, Buckey was acquitted of 14 charges of child molestation growing out of allegations leveled against her mother's Manhattan Beach preschool.
Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien, implementing a state appeals court ruling of May 29, ordered the Anaheim Union High School District to pay Buckey $183,123.33 for the period between March, 1984, when she was charged, and February, 1989, when her teaching credential was restored by the state.
The only matter in dispute at Thursday's proceeding was the amount of compounded interest to be paid on the back wages, attorneys said.
Buckey, who could not be reached for comment, teaches at an Anaheim high school. She has married and is expecting her first child, according to her attorney, John J. Wagner.
Although Buckey had initially asked for $223,000, Wagner said he was delighted by the ruling.
"It's been a heck of a long road. The district has fought us every step of the way," he said.
The school district's attorney, Kyle D. Brown, said the district "didn't do anything wrong here, and nobody has held that they did."
Brown said that "when morals charges were leveled against (Buckey) . . . we were required by law, the Education Code, to put her on compulsory leave without pay."
Buckey could not be reinstated by the school district until the state reinstated her teaching credential, Brown said.