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updated 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Though the jury in the McMartin sexual abuse case acquitted Peggy McMartin Buckey and her son Raymond on most counts (PEOPLE, Feb. 5) and found them guilty on none, the majority of our readers believe justice was badly served. Others maintain that the charges were suspect and that the verdict must be respected. Fans of Barbara Stanwyck appreciated our story on her but felt she deserved a cover.

THE MCMARTIN NIGHTMARE
As a mother of two, I found it appalling that several jurors in the McMartin trial felt the children had been molested but failed to convict the defendants. Those children will have to live with terrifying memories all their lives, while the accused will get a nice sum of money from the movie rights.
Karen Dumont
South Hero, Vt.

Ray Buckey may be guilty, but is revenge so sweet that these concerned parents are willing to continue destroying their children's mental health to pursue the matter? Where were all these parents while this abuse was supposed to be happening? I find it hard to believe that not a single child had a close enough bond with their parents to talk about what was happening or at least to say something that would have alerted them. I raised eight children, and I know most children are not very good at keeping secrets if there is someone around willing to listen.
Elsie Tanis
Lebanon, Ore.

Having been sexually and physically abused as a child, I know it is something that never completely leaves the memory. My heart and soul goes out to these children. My contempt goes to the jurors and the justice system that let the crime pass.
Anonymous
Porterville, Calif.

Why do we teach our kids to tell if someone hurts them? These children told and were only victimized again by being called liars.
Laura Walsh
New London, Conn.

Wait a minute! These defendants were found not guilty. I can't believe that PEOPLE would take such a one-sided approach to such an important case. I am a former McMartin Preschool student who is sick to death of the way the media has transformed this case into a witch-hunt. The McMartin family became convenient scapegoats for alleged crimes that have never been proven to have taken place. There are just too many things about the accusations that don't ring true.
Lisa Lucke
Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Sympathy for the children at McMartin aside, why did they make such terrible accusations in the first place? I hope people will look at Salem, 300 years ago, where 20 people were executed as witches based on children's testimony. When one of the accusing youngsters reached adulthood, she expressed great sorrow for what she had done, attributing her actions to adult influence. Surely adult influence is the culprit in the McMartin case as well.
Deirdre Conway, Ph.D.
San Francisco

BARBARA STANWYCK
Sort of stingy with the Barbara Stanwyck tribute, weren't you? The summation of this great lady's life and career warrants more space than the three pages you allowed. Whether in her roles or in her attitude toward work, she gave us an example to follow: If you have something to do, get in there, get it done and do it right.
Pamela Talbot
San Angelo, Texas

Writer John Stark's comment that Barbara Stanwyck was not an actress "with the range of a Bette Davis or a Katharine Hepburn" really gave me a good laugh. With all due respect to both of these great actresses, Miss Stanwyck could act rings around them. She was far more versatile than either of them, and she was never hammy (as Bette Davis could be) or mannered (as Katharine Hepburn tended to be). Most of all, Barbara Stanwyck had a humanity about her second to none.
Richard J. Walton
New York City

JANE WALLACE
I am truly tired of "fast track," self-righteous women who proclaim that "you don't need a man to raise a baby." Does Jane Wallace think about how her words will affect the millions of young people who read your magazine and who would be hard-pressed to raise a baby without a partner? Our prisons and drug treatment centers are filled with young people who had no father figures, and we know that people who are successful in their professional lives do not necessarily make the best parents. You may not need a man to raise a baby, Ms. Wallace, but a baby needs a father.
Michelle Mills
New York City

It would please me beyond belief if you would quit printing stories about celebrity adoptions. I know stable, secure couples who have waited five years or more for a baby. Why do lawyers in this country believe rich or famous people make the best parents? Let them get in line with everyone else!
Name Withheld
Calumet City, Ill.

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