Twenty-one years ago, a child then known as Kyle Sapp told police that he had been the victim of sexual abuse at the McMartin Pre- School in Manhattan Beach. Sapp, who attended the preschool from 1979 to 1980, was 8 when he first talked to authorities in 1984. He and hundreds of other South Bay children made allegations against the family who ran McMartin and against the employees who worked there. School administrator Peggy McMartin Buckey, her son Ray, daughter Peggy Ann, mother Virginia McMartin and three female teachers were accused of fondling and raping youngsters over a period of years, and of threatening them with death if they told. The scandal eventually resulted in criminal trials against Ray and his mother. By the time the trials came to an end in 1990--with acquittals and hung juries--"McMartin" was a household word. The case had turned into one of the longest and costliest criminal proceedings in U.S. history.
Ultimately, fewer than a dozen children testified at the trials of Ray Buckey and his mother. Kyle was not among them. Earlier, though, he had played an important role in moving the case forward. A police report had noted that his stories of abuse were so detailed and uninhibited that he would make an "exceptional witness." The district attorney's office apparently agreed: Of 360 McMartin students who claimed to have been abused, just 41 were picked to testify at the grand jury and the preliminary hearing. Kyle was one of them.
Interviewer 1: We can talk about those secrets now, Pac-Man. And you can help Kyle ... everybody's talking about it now.... You know what? We're going to tell you one of our special secrets 'cause we have a secret that we've been telling all the kids, and this one is- -you're going to like this one, Pac-Man, 'cause Kyle's dad is a policeman.... We know that sometimes Mr. Ray was at that school. He wasn't a teacher then, but we know that he was at school. Do you remember that, Pac-Man?