Six Years of Trial by Torture

Children, defendants, jurors and judge were all abused in the wasteful McMartin case

About the worst thing that can happen to a child is to be sexually molested. About the worst thing that can happen to an adult is to be wrongly accused of committing such a heinous crime. The tragedy of last week's not-guilty verdict in the McMartin case, the longest, most expensive trial in U.S. history, is that both horrors may have occurred. Said Judge William Pounders: "The case has poisoned everyone who had contact with it."

Although seven of the twelve jurors said they believed the nine child witnesses were molested "in some sense by someone," the prosecution was unable to...