Brainwashed by Her Husband


And the bizarre story was just beginning. Susan had another surprise admission for the authorities: She said that she had molested her own children, both her sons and her daughters.

Hoagland says that kind of confession is highly unusual.

"It's even more rare that you have a mother molest male and female children. So, things weren't adding up. She was afraid of something else. When I told her she wasn't going to be arrested, she seemed shocked. … She appeared terrified," Hoagland said.

'I Became Totally Controlled'

Susan now says she lied to the authorities. She says that neither she nor her father ever abused anyone, and that there was never a satanic cult in their lives.

The evil in her home, Susan says, came from a husband who had grown manically controlling and violently abusive.

Richard maintains that Susan was raped by her father and, in turn, abused her children. But Susan says that she was in fear "every moment of the day and night," and that the story she shared with authorities was one that Richard had literally beaten into her.

If she tried to say she wasn't molested by her father, Susan says that Richard would "explode."

"[He'd] punch me in the head and … beat me just bloody. He'd hold a gun in my mouth. He would put a gun to my head and ask if I was ready to die. He would tell me what to tell him happened when I was a kid, and I would just have to make anything up. … Anything outrageous to fill the gaps," she said.

Susan says she thought of grabbing the kids and running away, but was paralyzed by fear, sure that if she left, her husband would find her and kill her.

She also felt that to stay alive at home, she had to go along with the stories about her past that he'd created. "I became totally controlled," she said.

When her husband demanded she tell authorities she planned to murder him and had molested their children, she pictured really going to prison, safely away from her husband.

Police doubted Susan's confessions, and began to suspect Richard, but without her pressing charges, they had no reason to hold him. And because her confession didn't add up, she too was free to go home.

What the Children Saw

Police knew that there were four witnesses to what really happened in the Hamlin household: the couple's children.

Claire, Jenn, Ryan and Alec Hamlin all say they witnessed abuse.

"My father would make my mom cry, call her names, and I always heard like some punching noises," 11-year-old Claire said.

Jenn, 9, says she'd see her mom "all sad and crying, and she looked like she got hurt or something."

Ryan, 19, adds that on one occasion, "We could hear my mom screaming, and after a while of this, my dad came out. And my mom came out, and she was all bruised and bleeding and stuff."

The Hamlin children say their father told them he was helping their mother, trying to shake her free of the evil put upon her by her father.

"He would drag me out in front of them, and I was just crying and a wreck, and he would tell them that I had done all of these things," Susan said.

"They were so confused. And they didn't have any memories of me doing anything to them, but he'd so been brainwashing them, too."

When asked about his children's stories, Richard said they were "unfortunately" unreliable.

"I think they have been told what they've been told by their mother after the fact. And they were led extensively by Detective Strasser," he said.

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