Doctor Testifies for Defense in McMartin Trial : 3 of 5 Alleged Victims Show No Signs of Sex Abuse, He Declares
A British physician called by the defense in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial testified Tuesday that three of the five alleged victims he has been questioned about so far showed no physical signs of sexual abuse.
London city coroner David M. Paul, who also works at the University of London Hospital and is a consultant on forensic medicine, said under questioning by lawyer Dean Gits that he reviewed medical records and anatomical slides of the children but found nothing suggesting molestation in most.
He characterized some slides, projected before the jury, as showing “perfectly normal” body parts, and dismissed what appeared to be abnormalities in others as “of no significance.”
Prosecutors, who earlier called six physicians to testify, maintain that scarring and other physical signs of prior abuse are present in nine of the 11 children who have accused Raymond Buckey or his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, of rape, sodomy, oral copulation and other criminal sexual acts.
Paul took issue with the medical findings and even their terminology, and testified that the doctors were either mistaken, negligent or inconsistent. He also criticized their use of the colposcope, a camera-like machine that takes magnified three-dimensional photographs and renders repeated examinations unnecessary.
“You’ve got to be jolly careful when you magnify things up,” he said, explaining that the process can make many normal objects appear to be abnormal.
Paul said he has examined more than 2,000 children for molestation over the last three decades.
While in three cases Paul said he found no evidence consistent with molestation, in one other he hedged and in a fifth he testified that the child indeed had been sexually assaulted.
Referring to the findings of two physicians who examined the 2 1/2-year-old boy whose mother’s report to Manhattan Beach police triggered the nursery school investigation, Paul said: “I don’t believe they’re even consistent with sodomy.” He said, however, there were medical signs that could be interpreted as evidence that the child had suffered lesser sexual abuse.
Of another alleged victim, a girl who was examined at age 9, Paul said slides of her vaginal area reveal “gross abnormalities . . . sufficient to say it is diagnostic of child sexual abuse,” probably by digital penetration. The girl testified earlier that Ray Buckey had inserted his fingers into her at the prestigious Manhattan Beach nursery school, and that his mother had touched her on the outside.
The defense has said from the beginning of the trial--now in its 28th month--that several of the alleged victims may indeed have been molested, but by someone other than the Buckeys.
Refuting extensive medical evidence presented by the prosecution is crucial to the defense’s case, and Paul is expected to be their last witness before the trial enters its rebuttal phase.