How to Talk to a Child

J.L.: Then why are they in jail?
Braga: ...If Frank did touch the children A their private places A then that was something he shouldn't do...and that's why if that happened, then that's why they put him in jail...."

J.L: 'Cause they didn't do anything bad to me.... I would tell my mom but if they said it's a secret I would say I wouldn't do it but I would trick them.... I would say I'm not going to do it but I would trick them....

Braga: You're very grown-up.... Some of the children are afraid...because some of the children said that they were acting like they were monsters and they wore these masks and they scared them.

J.L: Is that true? Do you know?
Braga: I'm not sure, but some of the children said so, and I believe the children because I don't think children make up stories like that. Do you?

J.L.: Which children?
Braga: Well, D. And some of the other children.
J.L.: That were bigger than me? ...Did they tell that they were naked? ...What did they say?

Braga: They said that they played games with Frank and Ileana A some of the littler children. That everybody took off their clothes and that they played some games and that people touched each other's private parts.

J.L: That's true.
Braga: Is it true?
J.L.: Yeah, but if D. said it and the other big children said it so D. might be right...because the bigger children said that...it's true because the other children said.

Braga: ...Maybe you could tell us something....
J.L.: [Shakes head no]
Braga: ...They [J.L.'s parents] would be very proud....

Five months later, on January 17, 1985, J.L. was interviewed again by Laurie Braga. On the surviving videotape, she tells Braga that she has come back "because the last time I was too little. And I said nothing."

J.L. has apparently been under pressure at home to generate accusations. For example, when Braga asks her if she ever has "bad dreams about what happened" at the Fusters', the little girl answers "No, but my mom has a dream about my grandma, and my grandma tells what happened in my mom's dream...."

Now, largely in response to Braga's leading questions, J.L. accuses Ileana and Frank of taking off their clothes in front of children; of terrorizing them with a knife, tales of monsters, and the "cut your head off" game; of playing "Duck Duck Goose" and "Ring Around the Rosy" naked, of filming the children, and of "pull[ing] on my pee-pee."

"You didn't tell for a long time," Laurie Braga says. "How come? Were you scared?"

"I think I was too young," J.L. answers.
J.L., who went on to make more bizarre allegations, was eventually the only child deemed capable of testifying in open court at Frank Fuster's trial.

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