The Preschool Sex Abuse Case that Changed How Molestation is Investigated
- Barbara Dury
Accusations soon led to reports that hundreds of children had been abused at the prominent preschool, and set in motion one of the longest and most expensive child molestation cases in U.S. history. It also fed a national panic about child sex abuse, satanic rituals and child pornography that enmeshed dozens of day care centers across the country.
This week’s Retro Report looks back at the McMartin case and the panic that followed. Using archival footage and interviews with investigators – including the lead prosecutor in the case and the agency that evaluated the alleged preschool victims – we examine how and why one accusation altered the lives of those caught in the eye of the storm forever.
“We Believe the Children: a Moral Panic in the 1980s” by Richard Beck
More Like This
The Murder of US Churchwomen in El Salvador That Exposed a Government Coverup
The murder of four American churchwomen focused attention on the United States' involvement in El Salvador. Decades later, the case continues to take surprising turns.
D&D: Lessons from a Media Panic
Dungeons and Dragons was once accused of leading children to Satanism, but today the game looks more like a solution to a problem plaguing modern parenting.
The Shame of the Church
Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been making headlines for years. Some priests have been punished, but what about the bishops who shielded them?
The Superpredator Scare
In the mid-1990s, after a decade of soaring juvenile crime, some social scientists warned the violence would only get worse. Reality proved otherwise.