The most prolific McMartin parent and tunnel believer may have been Bob Currie, a real estate broker who conducted his own self-styled massive but unsuccessful investigation into the accusations against
"hordes" of supposed molesters. In his role as chief investigator, Currie visited other McMartin parents, whose children had not created stories of preschool abuse, and told the parents that their children had been mentioned as co-victims by other children interviewed at Children's Institute International. The alarmed parents then took their children to the Institute for evaluation.
The Currie parents passed three children, two boys and one girl, through the McMartin preschool from between 1972 and 1981. None of them ever complained of abuse at that time. The daughter, who was the oldest of the three siblings, would never make abuse accusations against any of the school's teachers despite spirited attempts by interviewer Kee MacFarlane to draw them out. The two boys, after interviews with Kee MacFarlane, eventually made bizarre accusations against the school's teachers.
Currie then sued the school and offered a $10,000 reward for information about alleged child pornography. Throughout the case he was highly vocal and frequently appeared on television programs. Eventually, he was sued by the Buckeys for libel and has been virtually silent about the case ever since. His second oldest son has to a much lesser extent carried on in his father's tradition. The chronology below, based on law enforcement reports and interviews, sheds light on Currie's pivotal role as an instigator in the McMartin case.
June 16, 1980
Currie's oldest son visited the doctor with his mother to complain about a swollen penis. The doctor found that a hair appeared to be tied to the base of the penis. The doctor removed the hair. For unknown reasons, the hair was allegedly preserved for four years and presented as evidence of molestation to Manhattan Beach police on May 11, 1984, seven months after the McMartin case broke.
Late August or early September, 1983
The following quotation is a record of recollections by Peggy Buckey, former owner of the McMartin preschool, during an interview, August 6, 1990:
Bob Currie came over, he lived across the street and up the hill a little ways. He came over as a friend. And I went for it. He said,
"Peggy I don't know if your son is guilty or not but my kid could not remember because it's too many years ago." [Ray Buckey was arrested on 3 counts of child molestation on September 7, 1983] . . . Now Bob's trying to say that all his kids were molested by Ray. . . . So Bob would come over. He would tease me and say he had a crush on me. And I said that's a bunch of baloney. Bob would come [over] and say well how are things going Peg? I can still see the last time when we were sitting and he said:
"You know Peg, I was at a meeting last night. They're out to destroy you and your mother, take your school, your reputation, all your money from you." And I said,
"Oh Bob, that's silly, they're not going to do that." That's exactly what they did do. Now Bob kept asking me
he wanted to buy the school. Even asked my mother. He got very provoked at me one time. He called me after we closed the school
we closed the school down, not the state. We decided after the threats that it wasn't fair to Babbs [another teacher] and the children so we closed it down in about the middle of January.
In February I was attacked in my back yard and cut all up between my legs. I had been getting threatening calls and letters, and then one of my fathers [a McMartin parent], (father's name) came to the door. This was after the school was closed. He had all this beard and goatee. First I didn't recognize him and of course I have a screen door. And he called me every name unbelievable under the sun. And I of course don't know at
first who he is. And he said,
"And if I see your son I'm going to kill him.". . . I had to open the screen door . . . and I saw Ray down at the end [of the street] and I thought
"Oh please God, don't have him come up here because this dad is out of control. He [the father] was so angry that as he left our yard he took the gate and threw it so hard [against the house] that he broke it and knocked off some things on my wall. Of course, I called Chuck [her husband] and he called the police who came down and
filed a report. In February . . . I very stupidly took a small pair of scissors [for protection] and I let my dogs in the house and I went out to the back. You know, in Manhattan Beach how houses are on the side of a hill and you have to walk back to the alley. And as I walked back . . . someone grabbed me from the back, and I passed out. This guy threatened me that he would harm my mother. He took the scissors and he cut me on the side of the vagina, just cut me all over. He said if I told anyone he would get my mom.
In response to a letter sent to 200 current and former McMartin parents by Manhattan Beach police, asking parents to quiz their children about possible abuse, Bob Currie indicated that he had no information about abuse and stated:
"I believe Ray Buckey to be a fine young man who just happens to be in youth education."
February 24, 1984
The Curries sued Virginia McMartin and Peggy Buckey for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, seeking $1,000,000 in punitive damages from each of the defendants.
March 1, 1984
Kee MacFarlane interviewed the two Currie boys. The older boy was enrolled at the school from September, 1974 to June, 1978; the younger boy attended from September, 1978 to June, 1981. Neither boy was present when Ray taught at the school.
MacFarlane's interviews with the older boy drew out tales of Ray threatening kids into silence with a gun, tickling him as an excuse for touching, tying him up, and sticking a thermometer in his anus. The Naked Movie Star game was played. Ray sodomized the boy and bunnies and turtles were hurt.
The younger boy told MacFarlane that the teachers threatened to harm parents if he talked about abuse. The Naked Movie Star game was played. A teacher put his
finger in the boy's butt and the boy was the active partner in oral sex. He was taken to farm house where he saw a horse being killed. A tiger, kangaroo and a monkey were also present.
March 3, 1984
More information was obtained from MacFarlane's interview with the younger boy: He identified a farm residence where the horse was allegedly killed and where he rode white horses. It was a four-hour trip to the farm and back.
|Kee McFarlane of Children's
Institute International. (Printed with permission of Easy
June 19, 1984
Bob Currie informed FBI agents that his children claimed to have been molested by teachers at the school. He had spoken with many McMartin parents and was now claiming to be a leading child molestation investigator in Manhattan Beach. His expertise had earned him invitations to talk about child abuse in Sacramento and outside the state. Meanwhile, his wife was busy establishing a telephone network with parents and former students.
Currie's conversations with other parents not only convinced him that children had been molested, but also that a satanic cult was involved. He identified two local churches where he believed children were transported and took part in devil worship.
Currie's self-established investigative duties included using a long list of suspected off-campus molestation locations, provided by CII and gleaned from therapists' child interviews, to conduct drive-by identifications with his son and other former McMartin students. On one excursion his son identified a red convertible as one of the vehicles that transported the children to the rituals. Currie tailed the car to a local restaurant. As Currie pulled up next to the car, his son identified the unknowing suspect as the children's chauffeur for sex abuse
field trips. Currie found out the car owner's name by tracing his license plate number. The information was handed to the FBI agents.
July 25, 1984
Currie reported to the District Attorney's investigators that he and McMartin parent (and future tunnel investigator) Jackie McGauley had developed important leads regarding alleged off-campus trips by children to mortuaries and cemeteries. He wanted to know when investigators would follow up on the leads and admonished them that he was
"a sort of watchdog to keep the investigators in the straight and narrow."
By August, Currie had been involved in an ABC network news documentary on
"Devil Worshipers" reported by Tom Jarrill (20/20) and was scheduled to participate in two more.
November 19, 1984
Currie continued to update DA's investigators on the progress of his independent investigation of McMartin and other, supposedly related, preschool cases. His methodology, as well as the conclusions it produced, suggest a continuing and growing obsession with his self-appointed role as McMartin sleuth and as spokesperson for a new organization, Parents Against Child Abuse:
¥ Currie and other parents continued their surveillance activities, trailing
"suspicious" vehicles, writing down license plate numbers and obtaining phone numbers of car owners. Currie suspected one Manhattan Beach street intersection because a friend of Ray's lived there and
"lot of activity" went on there. Currie and others spied on the house and collected license plate numbers and the home and work addresses of 30 drivers.
¥ At another intersection, a house with a swimming pool in the back yard and a basketball hoop attracted Currie's watchful eye. Currie alleged that a McMartin child was deliberately thrown into the pool so that Ray Buckey could pretend to rescue it. Currie's suspicion was further aroused because he believed that Ray's mother had once gone to the house for a hair cut.
¥ Currie investigated the Hawthorne Airport on a rumor that McMartin children were flown from there in a passenger liner. Currie wrote down the tail number of a plane and found out that its owner was a local school teacher.
¥ After investigating claims that children were packed and flown in air-freight cartons, Currie came up with the name of the freight company he believed transported the children. Other
"important" air molestation intelligence gathered by Currie was that a female pilot who flies out of the Torrance Airport may be a lesbian.
¥ The parents of one boy, who 8 months before had mentioned a
"devil's house" in his CII interview, located a ranch where children had supposedly been taken. They identified the owner of a suspicious car that they saw.
¥ Some children who mentioned a "devil's house," supposedly pointed to a residence in Manhattan Beach. A woman said she was taken to the house when she was 5.
¥ Currie presented to DA's investigators the names of McMartin parents who he suspected of being perpetrators in the alleged satanic molestations. Conversely, he also supplied the names of McMartin parents who he thought would probably
"cooperate" with investigators. Included among the latter was Jackie
McGauley, who he said knew a woman who had cleaned up blood at a local church that held satanic rituals.
¥ Currie reported that one informant told him the Anaheim Angels Baseball Team might be involved in the alleged molestations. He provided a list of suspects, including the name of a supposed scout for the team.
¥ Currie investigated the owners of another South Bay preschool and claimed that its owners were two years delinquent on rent payments, that their music program for children involved molestation and that the owners contributed large amounts of money to South Bay social programs.
¥ Currie called officials at Windcave National Park where Ray Buckey's sister had worked during past summers. Currie claimed that Ray may have buried incriminating evidence at a near-by family ranch. (The Buckeys never owned a ranch; based on a tip from a notorious jail house informant, DA's investigators trailed Ray on his way to meet his sister at the park for a vacation. They were hoping, without success, that the couple would lead them to a cave containing child pornography.)
¥ Currie reported that there had been two calls responding to his $10,000 reward offer for evidence of McMartin child pornography. One of the informants had outstanding arrest warrants, possibly for probation infractions. He offered to turn over photographs he claimed to have in return for being let off the hook in those instances. Investigators told Currie they would try to work something out with the man. Another informant from out of state claimed to have pictures but the supposed evidence was never produced.
Currie's daughter, now 15 years old, was still maintaining that she had never been molested by anyone at the McMartin preschool. Despite her consistent denials and lack of medical evidence, she was placed in counseling with a therapist referred by CII; the reason
"symptoms consistent with a history of sexual abuse."
Currie urged the DA's office to join him in a sting operation to uncover the supposed contraband. Currie claimed that an acquaintance had an informant who
"knows how kids are moved around." But it turned out that Currie's acquaintance was simply after the $10,000 reward and had no information about child pornography. The alleged pictures were never recovered, despite an intensive survey of child pornography collections from around the world.
A DA's investigator pressured Currie's now 8-year-old son to remember more details about alleged abuse. The boy had already been under intense pressure from his peers and father to testify in court against the defendants. The boy was asked to concentrate on alleged events involving Ray's father.
"I told him that I wanted to see if he could remember any more details about the incidents or if he could remember a more specific date on which they occurred," said the investigator. The boy promised to try and then claimed that Ray's dad took him and three other children into a classroom where they took their clothes off and were touched.
"I asked him if he remembered any more details about this incident and he said
'Only that I was three when it happened.' I asked him if he was sure, and he said
'All of the stuff happened when I was three and that's why I don't remember too much'."
But the investigator continued to push for more details, telling the boy that it was real important to know when the incidents happened. The boy answered that he had remembered all he could but the questioning continued. The investigator asked what happened after the children took their clothes off and the boy answered that they put them back on, hopped into Ray's van and went to the meat market. They entered through the back door of the market and saw a man with red hair. No molestation took place there. The boy didn't remember why they were taken there, the investigator noted,
"but nothing bad happened."
The boy was dropped from the prosecution's witness list because of
"his lack of viability and statute of limitations problems." In reaching that conclusion, the DA's investigator also wrote that the boy may be emotionally unstable and that, according to his therapist, he had shown intense repressed anger. The boy had also experienced difficulty when testifying at grand jury