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Crime News A Friend Of The Family

Jan Broberg Wants To Produce More True Crime Shows After ‘A Friend Of The Family'

Jan Broberg spoke to Oxygen.com about participating in the making of Peacock's "A Friend of the Family," which is based on her abductions and abuse by Robert Berchtold.

By Cydney Contreras

Jan Broberg is hoping to empower more victims of childhood abuse after executive producing the Peacock series “A Friend of the Family.” 

The actress spoke to Oxygen.com correspondent Stephanie Gomulka about her experience executive producing the Peacock limited series, which is based on her abuse at the hands of Robert Berchtold.

As Broberg has previously shared, Berchtold was a family friend who abducted her twice in her teens. During these kidnappings, Berchtold convinced her that they had been chosen to have a baby together to save a dying alien civilization. She didn’t tell anyone about the abuse she experienced because he told her that her family would be hurt if they knew about their secret mission.

While some have criticized the true crime genre for taking advantage of victims’ suffering, Broberg said that she felt like people were able to get a sense of what her two abductions and sexual abuse was like through watching Mckenna Grace and Hendrix Yancey act on-screen. She explained that the book and documentary seemingly offered viewers a sense of distance from the abuse, but the series, starring Jake Lacy, Anna Paquin and Colin Hanks, has the advantage of really putting people in her shoes.

RELATED: 'This Was The Torture Chamber': New Documentary Explores Jan Broberg's Real-Life Story Behind 'A Friend In The Family'

“It's really different to watch it in a series,” she told Oxygen.com. “People can relate to those characters; they can see how the grooming and the manipulation happens and that might prevent something in the future.” 

Now, she’s hoping to put the skills that she’s learned from “A Friend of the Family” to use on other true crime projects with the goal of building awareness around issues such as grooming and kidnapping, which remains an issue across the United States. 

Jan Broberg attends the world premiere of "A Friend Of The Family"

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), among cases of child sexual abuse reported to law enforcement, 93% are known to the victim. 

“I want to produce other stories,” she said. “There's some really great stories that people need to be involved in the telling of and I want to do that.”
Broberg admitted that she herself was “overwhelmed” by the idea of creating this series because of the “judgement” she and her family received from critics, but she was encouraged to do so after meeting show creator Nick Antosca. 

“I felt this absolute warmth through that first phone call and it has continued throughout the whole process,” she said. “They've been nothing but sincere and gracious.”

“A Friend of the Family: True Evil” and "A Friend of the Family" are streaming now on Peacock.