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'It Took 10 Seconds,' Jan Broberg, From 'Abducted In Plain Sight,' Says Of Being Brainwashed By Her Abuser
Broberg says she and her family were “groomed” by charismatic family friend Robert Berchtold, before he kidnapped her twice from her Idaho home.
Jan Broberg, who was the subject in the powerful documentary ‘Abducted in Plain Sight,’ said she was groomed for years by her charismatic abductor before he brainwashed her into believing that aliens wanted the pair to be together.
"When people ask me about the brainwashing, I'm like, 'It took 10 seconds.' I'd been led up to that moment," Broberg said Monday on "The View," according to ABC News.
Broberg discussed her relationship with Robert Berchtold, a man who would abduct her twice from her Idaho home.
Initially, Berchtold, who went by the nickname “B,” had been like a “second father” to the young girl after the two families met at church in 1972 and began to spend time together.
“He was just charismatic,” she told the show’s cohosts. “He was a community member that had a furniture store. He was the kind of guy that was just helpful, and everybody loved him. I mean, he literally had that kind of charisma.”
When Broberg was just 12 years old, Berchtold told her family he was taking her horseback riding and gave her some pills he told her would help with her allergies. Instead, she passed out and remembers waking up in an RV. A high-pitched voice came out of a small speaker next to where she was laying that told her that she was half-alien and that the alien species depended on her having a child with Berchtold by the time she was 16.
Although the story may been fantastical, Broberg said Berchtold had subtly been grooming her to be susceptible to the suggestion, regularly taking her, her sisters and his own children to science fiction movies, and frequently talking about UFO sightings with other members of her family.
"You have to think again how the grooming happens," Broberg explained. "It happens before the actual incident occurs."
The 12-year-old was rescued by the FBI about a month later in Mexico after having been repeatedly sexually assaulted, but due to Berchtold’s carefully crafted influence on the family, he’d serve just 10 days in prison.
Before his arrest, Berchtold had sexual experiences with both of Broberg’s parents, Bob and Mary Ann, and later blackmailed the couple into signing affidavits saying they'd given Berchtold permission to take their daughter to Mexico, according to the documentary, which was released in 2017 but has recently gained wider attention on Netflix.
The affidavits weakened the case against him and although he was sentenced to five years probation and five years in prison for the kidnapping, he served just 10 days behind bars.
Berchtold continued to see Broberg, who thought she loved her abuser. When she was 14, he’d abduct her again, this time taking her to California where he pretended to be the teen’s father and enrolled her in Catholic school.
The FBI would find them four months later, but Broberg said she continued to believe in the alien’s mission until she turned 16.
Broberg wanted to share her story in the hopes of educating other families that often the biggest threats are “somebody you know, love, and trust, and probably somebody your child knows, loves and trusts,” she said on "The View."
While she admitted to having moments of anger at her parents, she said she’s forgiven them for the role they played and believes they had been groomed and manipulated too.
“There was no question that they loved us unconditionally and that they loved other people unconditionally. Which also made us susceptible, probably, to be manipulated. But those also were the things that saved me in the end,” she told Vulture.
The family’s harrowing tale has seen so much public interest, Broberg is currently fielding multiple calls from Hollywood to turn the family’s real-life trauma into a movie, TMZ reports.