Kee MacFarlane

Kee MacFarlane
Born Kathleen MacFarlane
Nationality American
Occupation Social worker
Known for Role in the McMartin preschool trial

Kathleen 'Kee' MacFarlane[1] (born 1947[2]) is an American social worker known for involvement in the high-profile McMartin preschool trial in the 1980s. She was the Director of Children's Institute International.[3] She developed the concept of the anatomically correct doll for children to use during interviews concerning abuse and played a significant role in the McMartin trial with criticism made of her interview methods.

Professional training

She received a bachelor's degree in fine arts at Denison University in Ohio and later received her master's degree in social work.[4] After graduation, MacFarlane became a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women[5] and grant evaluator for the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect,[6] later becoming the Director of Children's Institute International (CII).[3] In the time leading up to the McMartin preschool trial, MacFarlane described herself as a psychotherapist but lacked any professional licenses.[2]

Involvement in the McMartin preschool trial

As part of her job at CII, MacFarlane interviewed 400 children for the McMartin preschool trial using anatomically correct dolls and hand puppets. MacFarlane believed that the children suffered from child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome, and would deny sexual abuse without special techniques designed to encourage disclosure.[6] The interviewing techniques used during investigations of the allegations were highly suggestive and invited children to pretend or speculate about supposed events.[7][8] By spring of 1984, it was claimed that 360 children had been abused.[9] Astrid Heppenstall Heger performed medical examinations and took photos of what she believed to be minute scarring which she stated was caused by anal penetration. Critics have alleged that the questioners asked the children leading questions, repetitively, which, it is said,[10] always yields positive responses from young children, making it impossible to know what the child actually experienced. Others believe that the questioning itself may have led to false memory syndrome among the children who were questioned. Ultimately only 41 of the original 360 children testified during the grand jury and pre-trial hearings, and fewer than a dozen testified during the actual trial.[11]

MacFarlane went on to testify in front of the United States Congress that she believed there was an organized, nationwide conspiracy of individuals and "orthodox satanic groups" sexually abusing children, although she never presented evidence of who any of the individuals are nor proof of any orthodox satanic groups.[12]


Books and book chapters

  • MacFarlane, K; Bulkley J (1982). "Treating Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of Current Program Models". In Conte JR; Shore DA. Social Work and Child Sexual Abuse. Haworth Press. ISBN 0-917724-98-4. 
  • MacFarlane, K; Waterman J (1998). Sexual Abuse of Young Children: Evaluation and Treatment. The Guilford Press. ISBN 0-89862-703-6. 
  • Cunningham, C; MacFarlane, K (1996). When Children Abuse: Group Treatment Strategies for Children With Impulse Control Problems. Safer Society Press. ISBN 1-884444-23-7. 


  • MacFarlane K, Feldmeth JR, Saywitz KJ (1986). Response Syllabus: The Clinical Interview. New York: The Guilford Press. ISBN 0-89862-940-3. 
  • The Clinical Interview; with Joanne Ross Feldmeth, Karen Saywitz (1988)


  1. Butler EW; Fukurai H; Dimitrius J; Kroothwas R (2001). Anatomy of the McMartin child molestation case. University Press of America. pp. 68. ISBN 0-7618-1983-5.
  2. 1 2 Timnick, L (1988-09-19). "Interviewer's Methods Seen as Key Issue in Preschool Case". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  3. 1 2 "Testimony by Kee MacFarlane". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. August 8, 1988. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  4. Snedeker 1995 p. 13.
  5. Van Til, Reinder (1997). Lost daughters: recovered memory therapy and the people it hurts. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans. pp. 134. ISBN 0-8028-4272-0.
  6. 1 2 De Young, Mary (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company. pp. 28–9. ISBN 0-7864-1830-3.
  7. Schreiber, Nadja; Lisa Bellah; Yolanda Martinez; Kristin McLaurin; Renata Stok; Sena Garven; James Wood (2006). "Suggestive interviewing in the McMartin Preschool and Kelly Michaels daycare abuse cases: A case study". Social Influence. Psychology Press. 1 (1): 16–46. doi:10.1080/15534510500361739.
  8. Garven, S; Wood JM; Malpass RS; Shaw JS (1998). "More than suggestion: the effect of interviewing techniques from the McMartin Preschool case". Journal of Applied Psychology. 83 (3): 347–59. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.83.3.347. PMID 9648524.
  9. Snedeker 1995 p. 127.
  10. Fischer, M (1989-09-25). "A Case of Dominoes?". Los Angeles Magazine. p. 132.
  11. Zirpolo, K; Nathan D (2005-10-30). "I'm Sorry; A long-delayed apology from one of the accusers in the notorious McMartin Pre-School molestation case". Los Angeles Times Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  12. Frankfurter, David (2006). Evil incarnate: rumors of demonic conspiracy and ritual abuse in history. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. pp. 57. ISBN 0-691-11350-5.


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