I speak Thursday afternoon, May 12, 2005, with a woman who was in the audience of Vicki's appearance on the May 1, 1989 Oprah show.
Woman: "I had already heard everything before from Vicki so that wasn't shocking to me. Oprah was the one who mentioned that Vicki came from a Jewish family. I know that that was not something that Vicki wanted to put forward on the show. I knew that that would blow up."
Luke: "What do you think about the veracity of what Vicki said? Most people would find it hard to believe."
Woman: "In 1984, I learned that my little girl, who was four-years-old, was being sexually abused at a Jewish preschool in Chicago [Rogers Park JCC]. I was the whistleblower on that case. They interviewed over 80 children and found that as many as 20 had been sexually abused.
"Once I found out what had happened to my child, we took her out of school and got her into therapy. My daughter and several other children began making allegations against their teachers and widespread pervasive abuse involving child pornography and bizarre ritualistic activity.
"When I met Vicki, we met through her connection with VOICES in Action (Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors). I was getting involved with the organization Believe The Children, which had been founded by some parents in California who were involved in similar cases, in daycare center, even though they were not Jewish preschools.
"I was hearing bizarre accusations from my child and Vicki was recalling similar events from her childhood. I had no reason to doubt [Vicki]."
Luke: "You have no doubts there was definitely this type of ritual abuse at the school?"
Woman: "There was definitely sexual abuse and physical abuse of the children. As far as the ritual abuse, it's hard to say. Did they really kill babies? I don't know. I do know that the children were convinced that they were killing babies. It may be that they were acting something out with dolls or maybe the children were drugged and led to believe things were happening. There was costuming and special effects involved. I can't say for a fact that they killed a baby. I can say for a fact that my daughter believed that they did."
Luke: "Do you find Vicki's reports about her childhood ritual abuse credible?"
Woman: "I do because they are not inconsistent with what I heard from my own daughter and what I also heard from a lot of other survivors."
Luke: "Isn't there a whole movement against this type of testimony? Something about repressed memory?"
Woman: "Definitely. During the eighties, when my case and similar cases came to light, the cases got a lot of publicity, people were arrested, and then they couldn't convict the people because the children were too young to testify or too traumatized. So, from that, developed this huge backlash against those who were making the allegations. The people who were accused got organized. They banded against the idea that anybody could repress a memory of something and concluded that the children were fantasizing and the parents were hysterical. I can only speak from my own experience. I can't say what may have happened in other cases. I can say that the last thing I wanted to believe was that my child had been abused. I tried to talk her out of it and to find other explanations for what I was hearing. But there wasn't any other explanation.
"I heard horrible things from the mouth of my own four-year-old, bizarre things that I had never heard of doing to a child or an adult. My child had a sheltered life aside from going to that preschool. We didn't even have a VCR at the time or cable TV. Where did she get this information if it didn't happen? She didn't get it from me because I didn't have any abuse in my background."
Luke: "The stuff about killing babies is so hard to put your mind around."
Woman: "There are several theories about that. You can say it was a satanic cult and it was part of their belief system to do this. I know that Vicki's case is especially inflammatory because of her coming from a Jewish family.
"In my child's case, it is possible that all these satanic trappings were part of the effort to terrorize the children, intimidate them, keep them from telling. If you take a small child and kill an animal in front of them, or kill a baby or pretend to kill a baby in front of the child, and then say to the child, if you tell, this is what will happen to you, that's an effective threat. It works to keep the kids shut down.
"With the pornography they were making, perhaps this was part of the pornographic script?"
The woman says her daughter retains few of these shocking memories and has gone on to a normal life.