Grocer Denies Child’s Allegation That Molestation Occurred at Market
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A grocer vehemently denied allegations by a boy testifying in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case that teachers took children to his store to be molested and that he watched.
″That’s not true at all,″ Racheed ″Ray″ Fadel, owner of Harry’s Meat Market, said Wednesday after the 10-year-old witness testified he was sometimes present during the alleged incidents. ″Nothing ever, ever, ever happened in my store. He’s making it all up.″
The witness, identified as John Doe No. 9, was in his sixth day of testimony in the preliminary hearing that will determine if seven former teachers at the Virginia McMartin Pre-School in suburban Manhattan Beach must stand trial on a total of 208 counts of molestation and conspiracy.
Defense attorney Bradley Brunon asked the boy if anyone was in the storage room besides teachers and the children they allegedly molested.
″Yes ... The store owner. Ray,″ the child replied.
″What did he do?″ asked Brunon, who represents the school’s 77-year-old founder, Virginia Mcmartin.
″He was watching the games,″ the boy said.
On Friday, the fourth-grader, recalling events he said happened six years ago, testified only that Fadel was at the market when the molestations allegedly took place in the storage room.
But Wednesday, under cross-examination, the boy placed Fadel in the room while five or six McMartin children played ″Naked Movie Star″ and ″The Tickle Game.″
Fadel said that one of the defendants, Raymond Buckey, 26, the grandson of Virginia McMartin, worked for him as a teen-age box boy when he bought the store but quit five months later.
″I don’t know why he’d do it,″ he said of the witness. ″Ray Buckey worked for me 81/2 years ago. Maybe that’s why.″
″The second I open my business I have employees with me,″ Fadel noted, adding that he has no storeroom, but does have an outside compressor room, ″whose door is always open,″ and an indoor wine cellar.
The 10-year-old, the second of 41 children scheduled to testify, has implicated all seven teachers. But Brunon said Wednesday’s statement about Fadel contradicted the child’s earlier testimony and thus discredited him as a witness.
″It’s hard to keep your story straight if it’s not based on facts,″ he said.
The defense also pounced on the child’s statement that he had seen television news reports about animals being hurt at the school before offering his own descriptions of Raymond Buckey allegedly slaughtering rabbits and a pony to frighten the children into silence.
Defense attorney Forrest Latiner, who represents Buckey’s sister, Peggy Ann Buckey, 28, said television-inspired fantasies could explain much of the boy’s testimony, including stories of satanic rituals at a church in Hermosa Beach.
″Not only did he learn about the animals on TV, but he learned about the market, the church, the kinds of sex acts,″ Latiner said. ″He had many opportunities (to hear such stories) and he embellished (his stories) with what went out over the airwaves.
″You will hear increasing amounts of can-you-top-this (testimony),″ Latiner said. ″He says he saw a horse killed with a knife, another kid will say he saw a horse killed with a hammer, another will say he saw a horse shot with a gun ...″