Sample Interviews by Investigators with Former
Students of the McMartin Preschool

Transcript of videotaped interviews:

Interview #1 (an 8-year-old boy):

Kathleen MacFarlane: Mr. Monkey is a little bit chicken, and he can't remember any of the naked games, but we think that you can, 'cause we know a naked games that you were around for, 'cause the other kids told us, and it's called Naked Movie Star.  Do you remember that game, Mr. Alligator, or is your memory too bad?

Boy: Um, I don't remember that game.

MacFarlane: Oh, Mr. Alligator.

Boy: Umm, well, it's umm, a little song that me and [a friend] heard of.

MacFarlane: Oh.

Boy: Well, I heard out loud someone singing, "Naked Movie Star, Naked Movie Star."

MacFarlane: You know that, Mr. Alligator?  That means you're smart, 'cause that's the same song the other kids knew and that's how we really know you're smarter than you look.  So you better not play dumb, Mr. Alligator.

Boy: Well, I didn't really hear a whole lot.  I just heard someone yell it from out in the _ Someone yelled it.

MacFarlane: Maybe.  Mr. Alligator, you peeked in the window one day and saw them playing it, and maybe you could remember and help us.

Boy: Well, no, I haven't seen anyone playing Naked Movie Star.  I've only heard the song.

MacFarlane: What good are you?  You must be dumb.

Boy: Well I don't know really, umm, remember seeing anyone play that, 'cause I wasn't there, when - I -when people are playing it.

MacFarlane: You weren't?  You weren't?  That's why we're hoping maybe you saw, see, a lot of these puppets weren't there, but they got to see what happened.

Boy: Well, I saw a lot of fighting.

MacFarlane: I bet you can help us a lot, though, 'cause, like, Naked Movie Star is a simple game, because we know about that game, 'cause we just have had twenty kids told us about that game.  Just this morning, a little girl came in and played it for us and sang it just like that.  Do you think if I asked you a question, you could put your thinking cap on and you might remember, Mr. Alligator?

Boy: Maybe.

MacFarlane: You could nod your head yes or no.  Can you remember who took the pictures for the naked-movie-star game?  That would be a great thing to feed into the secret machine [the video camera], and then it would be all gone, just like all the other kids did.  You can just nod whether you remember or not, see how good your memory is.

Boy: [Nod's puppet's head.]

MacFarlane: You do? Well, that's remarkable.  I wonder if you could hold a pointer in your mouth, and then you wouldn't have to say a word and [boy] wouldn't have to say a word.  And you could just point.

Boy: [Places pretend camera on adult male nude doll using alligator puppet]  Sometimes he did.

MacFarlane: Can I pat you on the head for that?  Look what a big help you can be.  You’re going to help all these little children, because you're so smart…OK, did they ever pose in funny poses for the pictures?

Boy: Well, it wasn't a real camera.  We just played…

MacFarlane: Mr. Alligator, I'm going to…going to ask you something here.  Now, we already found out from the other kids that it was a real camera, so you don't have to pretend, OK?  Is that a deal? 

Boy: Yes, it was a play camera that we played with.

MacFarlane: Oh, and it went flash?

Boy: Well, it didn't exactly go flash.

MacFarlane: It didn't exactly go flash.  Went click?  Did little pictures go zip, come out of it?

Boy: I don't remember that.

MacFarlane: Oh, you don't remember that.  Well, you're doing pretty good, Mr. Alligator.  I got to shake your hand.

Interview #2 (a 6-year-old girl)

Dr. Astrid Heger: Maybe you could show me with this, with this doll [puts hand on two dolls, one naked, one dressed] how the kids danced for the Naked Movie Star.

Girl: They didn't really dance.  It was just, like, a song.

Heger: Well, what did they do when they sang the song?

Girl: [Nods her head]

Heger: I heard that, I heard from several different kids that they took their clothes off.  I think that [first classmate] told me that, I know that [second classmate] told me that, I know that [third classmate] told me.  [Fourth classmate] and [fifth classmate] all told me that.  That's kind of a hard secret, it's kind of a yucky secret to talk of-but, maybe, we could see if we could find--/

Girl: Not that I remember.

Heger: This is my favorite puppet right here.  [Picks up a bird puppet] You wanna be this puppet?  Ok?  Then I get to be the Detective Dog…We're gonna just figure it all out.  Ok, when that tricky part about touching the kids was going on, could you take a pointer in our mouth and point on the , on the doll over here, on either one of these dolls, where, where the kids were touched? Could you do that?

Girl: I don't know.

Heger: I know that the kids were touched.  Let's see if we can figure that out.

Girl: I don’t' know.

Heger: You don’t' know where they were touched?

Girl: Uh-uh. [Shakes her head]

Heger: Well, some of the kids told me that they were touched sometimes.  They said that it was, it kinda, sometimes it kinda hurt.  And some the times, it felt pretty good.  Do you remember that touching game that went on?

Girl: No.

Heger: Ok.  Let me see if we can try something else and -

Girl; Wheeee! [Spins the puppet above her head.]

Heger: Come on, bird, get down here and help us out here.

Girl: No.

Heger: Bird is having a hard time talking.  I don't wanna hear any more no's.  No no, Detective dog we're gonna figure this out. 

McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial