Trial Set for Summer; Parents Say They’ll Seek to Restore Charges
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge set a summer trial for the two remaining defendants in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case as parents vowed to ask the attorney general to restore charges against five former defendants.
Raymond Buckey, 27, and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, 57, agreed Thursday to give up their rights to a speedy trial and were told it could be July before their case comes before a jury.
Originally, seven people were charged with more than 300 criminal counts after children told of rape, sodomy, satanic rituals and animal mutilations at the school in suburban Manhattan Beach, 15 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Charges against five, including Buckey’s sister and grandmother, were dropped Jan. 17 after District Attorney Ira Reiner said there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
Timothy Wheeler, a lawyer and member of the parents’ group, said earlier in the week that a petition would be filed with the attorney general’s office within a week to 10 days asking that the state replace the county district attorney’s office in the case and refile the charges against the five former defendants.
Wheeler said his group has been reviewing the original investigation as well as information unused by prosecutors during the nearly 18-month-long preliminary hearing that ended Jan. 9.
Assistant Attorney General Ted Fogel confirmed that his office has talked with the parents’ group but said he couldn’t disclose the topic. However, he said the group has told him it intends to submit ″something in writing within the next 10 days.″
On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Roger Boren set the next court appearance in the case for May 30 and told Buckey and his mother that their trial need not start until 60 days after that.
The two are charged with 101 felony counts of molestation and conspiracy in the alleged abuse of 13 children.
Mrs. Buckey spent nearly two years in jail before being released on $900,000 bail posted by friends and relatives last month. Her son remains jailed without bail.