Virginia McMartin’s Diaries Put in Evidence : Raymond Buckey Known as Molester, D.A. Says

Times Staff Writer

Prosecutors in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial introduced new evidence Thursday which they say shows that the mother and grandmother of chief defendant Raymond Buckey knew years before he was arrested that he was a child molester.

Prosecutors said the evidence also shows that Buckey had received regular counseling for several years for his “problem.”

The evidence is a stack of diaries kept by Manhattan Beach nursery school founder Virginia McMartin, some of which the prosecutors received only this week.


The daily journals were introduced in a stormy session of cross-examination on Virginia McMartin’s third day on the witness stand, during which the judge threatened to jail her for contempt. The 80-year-old family matriarch’s testimony is being videotaped without a jury present for presentation later during the defense phase of the trial, should she be unable to testify.

The diaries disclose that McMartin’s daughter, defendant Peggy McMartin Buckey, told her in the spring of 1983--several months before Raymond Buckey’s arrest--that she had seen a youngster touch his genitals.

“I don’t remember much about it,” McMartin said, “other than this little girl, who had a habit of doing it to her father, grabbed Raymond. And so Peggy told the mother immediately and she said that the father had allowed it. And I think she apologized for it, I’m not sure.”

McMartin said she did not talk to her grandson about the incident and cannot remember doing anything about it.

The diaries also note that both Peggy and Raymond Buckey were counseled by Dr. Frank Richelieu, identified by attorneys as a pastor at the Church of Religious Science in Redondo Beach. “I haven’t the slightest idea why they went,” McMartin said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Lael Rubin said later outside the courtroom that the counseling was for Buckey’s sexual problems involving young children. The defense declined to specify the nature of the counseling sessions.

“In fact, Mrs. McMartin,” the prosecutor asked during the trial, “you knew that Raymond Buckey had a problem with touching children’s genitals, didn’t you?”

At that suggestion, coming after a series of rapid-fire questions during which the witness had become increasingly agitated, McMartin exploded.

“No, I didn’t,” she shouted. “And don’t try to put words in my mouth. I did not. You are lying.”

When Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders ordered her to answer the questions without offering gratuitous comments that would have to be expunged from the record, she yelled at the judge:

“Then you speak to her (Rubin). I want you to know something. . . . I was brought up a lady, I’ve been one all my life and I expect to spend my senior years as a lady. And you can speak to me respectfully or not at all and that goes for you too.”

Pounders quickly called a recess, telling the woman to calm down or be held in contempt. “I’m not at all reluctant to send you to jail in the event that you do not respond to my orders,” he said angrily. “You are subject like anyone else, regardless of your age, to the orders of this court.”

Replied McMartin: “I’ve already been to your jail and the horrible way that your jail treats people.” She later apologized to the judge for her outburst.

Earlier, Rubin had asked McMartin about her grandson’s habit of wearing shorts that sometimes exposed his penis and suggested that McMartin had seen him touch children’s genitals and seen them touch his.

McMartin denied any knowledge that Buckey may have had sexual problems, and said any entries in her diaries indicating otherwise are incorrect.