2 Groups Tied to McMartin Case to Monitor Hearing

Two Manhattan Beach groups connected with the McMartin Pre-School molestation case announced a volunteer courtroom observer program Monday that is to assess stress of the young witnesses, attempt to correct what they view as inaccuracies in news media coverage and make suggestions for changes in how sexual abuse cases are handled.

The Children's Civil Rights Fund, a parents' organization working for legislative reform, and the South Bay Center for Counseling, a therapy group that has treated some families involved in the case, will have observers from the fields of law, religion, medicine, psychology, government and communications in the courtroom beginning Friday, spokesman Jeff Duclos said.

The observers will be coordinated by Janie MacHarg, director of health and psychological counseling at California State University, Dominguez Hills. The observers will not be given access to the child witnesses or their families or allowed in the main courtroom.

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