Actress Abducted As Girl Warns Parents

ByABC News via via logo

March 21, 2004 -- Actress Jan Broberg Felt says her childhood abductor returned when she decided to share her strange and frightening story with the world.

In a new book, Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story, Felt's mother reveals the details of the actress's childhood memories.

The book, written by Mary Ann Broberg, tells the story of Felt's alleged abductions when she was 12 and 14 years old.

Felt, a 41-year-old actress who has a recurring role on the WB family drama Everwood, says the release of the book prompted the accused man, Robert Berchtold, to show up at a women's conference she was hosting with her mother in St. George, Utah, last week.

"I think he's desperate because he knows our story has come out," Felt said on Good Morning America.

In an interview with ABCNEWS.com, Berchtold said he went to the conference not to see or speak to Felt or her mother, but to talk to members of a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Eleven bikers attended the conference at Felt's request for safety protection, according to one volunteer. Berchtold claims members of the team have been hanging around his home in Nevada since Felt began promoting her book in the fall.

However, one of the bikers said Berchtold attacked him with his minivan after he asked to see fliers Berchtold allegedly wanted to distribute. Berchtold said he didn't intend to hit the volunteer. He claims the man jumped on his minivan when he was trying to leave.

After the incident, Berchtold was arrested on charges of simple assault, criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct. He was released on bail. The volunteer was not seriously injured.

UFO Fears, Brainwashing Allegations

While Felt says her mother's book honestly chronicles her experiences with the man who had befriended her family back in 1972, Berchtold disputes some of the book's claims.

Berchtold says that while he did have a relationship with Felt, it was not sexual. He also says they never talked about UFOs and that he never tried to brainwash her, as the book contends.

"They're trying to make a buck," Berchtold told ABCNEWS.com.

Felt says she and her mother are telling their story as a warning for parents and children. She says parents should be concerned when someone takes an interest in a child that's "above and beyond" what would be considered normal.

Felt says her troubles began with Berchtold back in the summer of 1972. When the man's family moved a few blocks away from Felt's family home in Pocatello, Utah, she says he befriended her family.

Felt says he acted like a second father, bringing her gifts and taking her out. She said Berchtold would take her to movies about space travel and UFOs, all the while planting the seeds that he would later use to brainwash her.

Meanwhile, Berchtold said he only tried to take care of Felt. He now says he knows it was wrong to have such relationship with a young girl. Berchtold says years of therapy helped him find out why he had a strong need to take care of a little girl.

"My mom got sick when I was a teenager and I had to take care of my little sister," Berchtold said. "I was very happy at the time, because my stepfather finally liked me and everything was good. Later, I had reverted back to taking care of a little girl."

However, Felt's memories of their relationship are very different from Berchtold's story.

The first time she was abducted, according to Felt, Berchtold took her away in a motor home on the afternoon of Oct. 17, 1974.

"Keep in mind that this man and his entire family had been our best friends for 2 ½ years prior to this experience. All of the brainwashing, the seeds, had been planted prior to waking up in the back of that motor home, strapped to the bed, with an ivory box playing in my ear in a high pitched monotone voice that I had been kidnapped by a UFO and was to do everything they told me, and if I didn't, I would be instantly vaporized," Felt said.As she listened to the voice coming out of the "ivory box," Felt says she became convinced that she had been abducted by a UFO, and that horrible things would happen to her if she did not do what she was told. Later, Felt said she realized they were in Mexico and far from home.

In the five weeks that followed, Felt said Berchtold brainwashed her.

Berchtold says Felt went on the trip with him voluntarily. He says Felt's parents called police after they figured they weren't coming back.

After Mexican police found Berchtold and Felt, she was taken home and he was jailed for a short amount of time. Felt's parents never pressed any sexual abuse charges against Berchtold."I didn't tell anyone what was happening to me," Felt said.

Two years later, Felt says the man convinced her to leave with him again to complete their mission. She says he took her to a Catholic girls school in Pasadena, Calif., hiding her there until she was rescued by the FBI.

Berchtold says he was sent to a mental facilty after the FBI found Felt.

He now says he only sent her to the Catholic school because she didn't want to stay at home. However, he says he did not tell Felt's parents about his plans to send her to Pasadena.

Felt says she plans to continue to tell her story without fear.

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