A former prosecutor in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case who is now allied with the defense testified Tuesday that he had withheld evidence about the mother whose allegations triggered the investigation.
Former Deputy Dist. Atty. Glenn Stevens, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, said he believes that defense lawyers were entitled to know of a July, 1984, telephone call by the mother, Judy Johnson, in which she told him that an AWOL Marine had broken into her home and molested her child.
"I began to come to the opinion that she may be a little off," he said, adding that he had initially found her to be "pleasant and very lucid" despite having been told by lead prosecutor Lael Rubin that the woman was "kind of weird, crazy."
He conceded that he did not report the incident or tell the defense about it. "I felt it was so preposterous, and her involvement (in testifying at the preliminary hearing) was over, that I just didn't want to be bothered with her allegations any further," Stevens said.
Nor did he tell anyone about two frantic telephone calls she had made earlier, in which she claimed that she was being followed and had been attacked while on a trip and that she needed protection. Johnson was found dead in her Manhattan Beach home Dec. 19 of liver disease.
By the time Johnson called Stevens, he said, the woman had already made child molestation allegations against her former husband, employees at a local gym and a Los Angeles school board member. She had also reported that defendant Ray Buckey could fly, that her son was forced to drink blood and take part in satanic rituals and that McMartin teachers put staples in his ears and scissors in his eyes.
Thought Defense Knew
Asked by defense attorney Dean Gits whether that information should have been turned over, Stevens replied, "Absolutely." He had not done so, he said, because he thought the bizarre allegations had been relayed to the defense by Rubin before he was assigned to the case.
Stevens testified at a pretrial hearing to determine whether the district attorney's office intentionally suppressed evidence or is unfairly continuing to prosecute two of the original seven defendants.
Defense attorneys contend that the McMartin case was built on Johnson's allegations, despite prosecutors' belief that she was mentally disturbed, and that the remaining 101 charges of child molestation and conspiracy against Ray Buckey, 28, and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, 60, should be dropped.
In arguing that they and the court were deceived by prosecutors, defense attorneys relied heavily on conversations Stevens had with them and with a Beverly Hills screenwriter to whom he sold rights to his story.
In court Tuesday, Stevens accused Rubin of withholding information even from her colleagues on the case. "There were times when (in response to defense inquiries about things Stevens knew nothing about) Lael would say, 'We haven't gotten around to talking about that' or 'I thought I told you.' "
He also testified that he advised investigators not to give his office confidential information about other suspects in their wide-ranging probe of South Bay nursery schools.
Under questioning by defense attorney Daniel Davis, Stevens said, "I no longer believe that he (Ray Buckey) is legally guilty," although "I was not at the school."