Buckey Freed on $1.5-Million Bail After 5 Years in Jail

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

A smiling Raymond Buckey, the principal defendant in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case, was released on $1.5-million bail from Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail on Wednesday night after spending nearly five years behind bars.

Buckey, 30, made his way through a crowd of reporters and broadcast news crews to his attorney’s car without saying a word. The one-time preschool teacher rode away with his attorney, Daniel G. Davis, and a private security officer to an undisclosed location.

Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, are in the 22nd month of their trial on 65 counts of child molestation and conspiracy involving 11 children who attended their family-run nursery school in Manhattan Beach. She is free on $295,000 bail.


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders ordered Buckey released last week after determining that he had met the $1.5-million bail by pledging real estate worth twice that amount, as required by law.

He had been jailed since March, 1984, when he was arrested along with his mother, grandmother, sister and three other former teachers at the school, which has since closed. Charges against all of the defendants, except Buckey and his mother, have been dropped.

In ordering Buckey’s release, Pounders ruled that he must surrender his passport and not have any contact with anyone under age 14 who is not a blood relative or accompanied by a parent. The judge also ruled that Buckey stay out of the cities of Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach unless he receives court permission, and that he be kept under 24-hour guard.