Crime Film Documentaries

Instructor: James R. Elkins

"Indictment: the McMartin Trial"

[132 mins.] [directed by Mick Jackson; executive producer, Oliver Stone]

[Note: "Indictment" is a docudrama, not a documentary]

["Adefense lawyer (played by James Woods) defends an average American family from shocking allegations
of child abuse and satanic rituals. After seven years and $16 million, the trial ends with the dismissal of all charges." Wikipedia]

The McMartin Case

McMartin Preschool Case

The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials
Douglas Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City Famous Trials

The Trial That Unleased Hysteria Ovr Child Abuse
New York Times, March 9, 2014

Kee MacFarlane
Wikipedia; MacFarlane developed the concept of the anatomically correct doll for children to use during interviews concerning abuse and played a significant role in the McMartin preschool trial; testimony of Kee MacFarlane in the McMartin case

After the McMartin Trials: Some Reflections from the Buckeys
Peggy Buckley, Raymond Buckey & Peggy Ann Buckey

Learning From the McMartin Hoax
Lee Coleman, psychiatrist, Berkeley, California

The Dark Truth About the "Dark Tunnels of McMartin"
John Earl, freelance journalist

The Film

Internet Movie Database

All Movie

San Francisco Chronicle


McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic
13:23 mins.; Retro Report, New York Times

30 Years Later, Key Figures Reflect On McMartin Child Abuse Case
4:45 mins.; CBS, Los Angeles

McMartin Preschool Trial Presentation by Kim W. Hansen, Attorney in Orange County
15:50 mins.

Child Interviews

Suggestive Interviewing in the McMartin Preschool & Kelly Michaels Daycare Abuse Cases
article, in Social Influence, 2006

Some Cases Will Simply Not Die

Ex-FBI Agent Ted Gunderson on the McMartin Preschool Tunnels
10:14 mins. Pt2 9:16 mins [Ted Gunderson in a nutshell: "Though his name is virtually unknown outside the hardcore conspiracy fringe, Ted Gunderson will live on in the enduring suspicions he sowed—in each case he explored as a private investigator—of deeper, more sinister plots at play behind-the-scenes. Where hysteria spread, he went to legitimize irrational fears in the FBI's name. Many of those infected with his paranoia remain, still today, invested in his dystopian vision. Trying to cope in the wake of unfathomable crimes committed in their midst, vulnerable minds gravitated to the delusional narratives Gunderson supported which, while claiming to confront the stark horror of “reality”, offered a comfortably tidy narrative, linear and coherent, where demarcations between Good and Evil are unmistakably clear, and nothing occurs without purpose. In Gunderson's hands, an infamous murder became the work of Satanists sanctioned by demonic government forces—the confusion created by his investigation still causing for controversy and suspicion. With his late intervention, the debunked McMartin preschool Satanic Ritual Abuse panic is revived for true believers who hold firm to an appearance of tenability founded on Gunderson's claim that, with the aid of an archaeologist, he had unearthed secret tunnels underneath the site of the school where barbarous, sadistic rituals had been enacted." an excerpt from "The Process Is . . ." t he blog of Loki der Quaeler, Doug Mesner and William Morrison; read the entire blog entry]

Bibliography: David Hechler, The Battle and the Backlash: The Child Sexual Abuse War (Lexington Books, 1988); Kathryn Lyon, Witch Hunt: A True Story of Social Hysteria and Abused Justice (Avon, First Thus ed., 1998); Dorothy Rabinowitz, No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times (The Free Press/Wall Street Journal Book, 2003); Mark Pendergrast, Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives (Upper Access Books, 2nd ed., 1996); Paul Eberle, The Abuse of Innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial (Prometheus Books, 1993); Mary De Young, The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic (McFarland & Company, 2004); D. Nathan & M. Snedeker, Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt (Basic Books, 1995); EW Butler, H. Fukurai, J. Dimitrius & R. Krooth, Anatomy of the McMartin Child Molestation Case (United Press of America, 2001); Debbie Nathan & Michael Snedeker, Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt (iUniverse, 2001); Dean Fong, Elusive Innocence: Survival Guide for the Falsely Accused (Huntington House Publishers, 2001); Stephen J. Ceci & Maggie Bruck, Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A Scientific Analysis of Children's Testimony (American Psychological Association, 1999); Stephen J. Ceci, Expert Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases (American Psychological Association, 2001); Debra A. Poole, Investigative Interviews of Children (American Psychological Association, 2003); Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Interviewing Children about Sexual Abuse: Controversies and Best Practices (Oxford University Press, 2007); Kathryn Kuehnle, The Evaluation of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations: A Comprehensive Guide to Assessment and Testimony (Wiley, 2008); Paul Stern, Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony in Child Abuse Litigation: A Guide for Expert Witnesses and Attorneys (Sage Publications, 1997); Michael E. Lamb, Tell Me What Happened: Structured Investigative Interviews of Child Victims and Witnesses (Wiley, 2008); American Prosecutors Research Institute, Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse (Sage Publications, 3rd ed., 2003); M. Robin, Assessing Child Maltreatment Reports: The Problem of False Allegations (Haworth Press, 1991); Andrew Vachss, False Allegations (Vintage Books, 2001)(novel)