Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  20 May 1995 (USA)
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The McMartin family's lives are turned upside down when they are accused of serious child molestation. The family run a school for infants. An unqualified child cruilty "expert" videotapes ... See full summary »



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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lael Rubin
Kee McFarlane
Virginia McMartin
Ray Buckey
Peggy Buckey
Wayne Satz
Peggy Ann Buckey
Christine Johnson
Glenn Stevens
Scott Waara ...
Dean Gits
Diana Sullivan
Ira Reiner
Judy Johnson
Juror #1


The McMartin family's lives are turned upside down when they are accused of serious child molestation. The family run a school for infants. An unqualified child cruilty "expert" videotapes the children describing outrageous stories of abuse. One of the most expensive and long running trails in US legal history, exposes the lack of evidence and unprofessional attitudes of the finger pointers which kept one of the accused in jail for over 5 years without bail. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic language and disturbing visuals related to a trial | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Acusados  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The real-life Peggy McMartin Buckey, imprisoned for two years while awaiting the outcome of the most protracted U.S. criminal molestation case targeting her family's preschool, died December 15, 2000. She, her mother Virginia McMartin and her son Ray Buckey were charged, with four others, with 100 counts of child molestation in 1983. The case lasted seven years and cost Los Angeles County $13 million. Peggy was acquitted in 1990 after a three-year trial; Ray, incarcerated for five years, was acquitted of 40 counts. Critics said the case pinpointed the danger of basing criminal charges solely on the testimony of young children. See more »


In last sequence, walkway on Manhattan Beach pier is alternately wet and dry from shot to shot. See more »


Lael Rubin: You draw pubic hair, didn't you?
Ray Buckey: I drew nipples there too, you see?
See more »


References A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Important Movie
7 January 2001 | by (The Hague, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Indictment is a movie showing how untested pop psychology and bad (circular) reasoning can still produce witch hunts in this day and age, and an appeal to both the viewer and the public in general to always keep a critical eye towards the facts like a laser beam.

Nor was this case a one-off. In fact, when I saw the announcement for this movie, I thought it was about the "Little Rascals Day Care Center" in Edison, NC. Only a year before the McMartins were released from jail, an almost cloned incident happened in Edison, when the owner, Robert Kelly jr. and his wife were charged with massive child abuse - as well as satanism, cannibalism, abductions... they were also accused of taking the children along in space ships, killing animals, sacrificing babies in the middle of the day care center during open hours, etc (although no children were ever reported missing). There too, the case started out with a single vindictive mother with an agenda of her own, and was built upon "recovered memories", etc.

However, unlike the McMartins, who spent up to half a decade in jail awaiting trial, the Kelly's were actually convicted and sentenced to twelve consecutive life sentences. Their convictions were later quashed on appeal.

What is also shown out in this movie is the way "true believers" think. Kee, played by the gorgeous Lolita Davidovitch, doesn't look for corrobable evidence, but simply affirmation of her already drawn up conclusions. Here is where the circular thinking comes in. When a child is asked if it has been abused, and the answer is yes, then it must be telling the truth. However, if the answer is no, then something must be keeping them from telling the truth, in this case, "they're in denial". And so they will be cojoled, even threatened, until the answer is yes. They how's, when's and even who's are less important, and as a result many of testimony becomes fantastical, even impossible. Or, to quote from an article on False Memory Syndrome:

"When the victim responds, " but I get along fine with my parents, they aren't perverts".

  • the trusted advisor responds, "Wow, they must have been really horrible

for you to have repressed it that deep. If you won't recall, you won't get better." "

Also, Gerardo and OJ trial regular Ira Reiner (who gravely described OJ's gloves as "loosely fitting, working man's gloves") don't come off very well at all, not surprisingly.

Nor have these modern witch hunts limited themselves to North America - there have been similar mass arrests after allegations of satanic abuse in the north of Scotland, recently in the UK the daily mail undertook a campaign of publicly naming child molesters, many of whom were confused with other people, one man had a neckbrace like one of the men in the newspaper and needed police protection after both his and his neighbors house had been stoned, and a PEDiatrician needed protection after children had painted "PEDo" on her house. Nor is mass hysteria and mass psychology limited to child abuse - recently in Holland a scuzzy politician tried to whip up public support by claiming as "outrageous" the number of middle aged citizens of Maroccan and Turkish descent claiming disability - totally and conveniently ignoring the fact that among the physically demanding and dangerous industries, like steel, chemicals, and the cleaning industry, these groups were hugely over represented in the decades after WWII and still are today.

This movie is an indictment of mass hysteria, and is an appeal for every citizen to think for him or herself, and be very critical, even cynical of whatever news is presented to them on a platter every night at six.

See it.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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