Lori Poland & Dr. Richard Krugman
Episode 6: The Story of EndCAN’s Founders, Lori & Dick
After Lori was kidnapped in 1983, she was treated at The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. One of her pediatricians at The Kempe Center was Dr. Dick Krugman, with whom she later went on to create The National Foundation of Child Abuse and Neglect in 2018.
Transcript of the Louder than Silence Podcast
Episode #6: The Story of EndCAN’s Founders, Lori & Dick
Transcribed by Adam Soisson
[Inspirational theme music plays.]
>> Lori: Thank you for joining us. In this podcast, we are real people, talking about real things. Child abuse and neglect: a topic that is all too often left in the shadows of silence, leaving survivors alone, fearful, and oftentimes without a voice. We’re having conversations to become louder than silence. It is here, where we will invite you to join us and be the change needed to end child abuse and neglect.
>> Lori: Good morning, I’m Lori Poland, I’m the Executive Director of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect
>> Dick: And I’m Dick Krugman, I’m a pediatrician and the Chair of the Board of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect
>> Lori: You are with us on our podcast for EndCAN and we will be talking today about how Dick and I met back in 1983. So in 1983 I was a three year old, a little girl who had been kidnapped from my front yard and severely abused and placed in the pit of an outhouse toilet. I was there for three and a half days and on the fourth day I was found by birdwatchers and reunited with my family. A few days later I was taken to the police department and sat behind a two way mirror where I saw a lineup of ten different men who came in and stepped forward and would say, “get into the car” and on the fourth man, that was my abductor and I was able to identify and say, “mommy that’s the bad man who hurt me.” They had videotaped my identification of him. So the police department took this video over to the Kempe Center which is where Dick worked and asked them a few questions and I’ll let Dick share that part of the story.
>> Dick: Just to put into context, the whole city of Denver had been riveted on the disappearance of Lori from her front yard on that warm day in August. When she had been found it was on television and I was director of the Kempe Center. We were doing child abuse work and a child psychiatrist who I had recruited from England and I and Don Bross who was our pediatrician, who was our pediatric lawyer were all watching as Lori was taken into the St. Anthony’s Hospital emergency room. About a half hour later the head of the emergency room, who I knew actually, came out and said, “good news, she’s going to be well. She wasn’t sexually abused, she’s dehydrated, she has some chemical burns but she’s going to be better.” And the whole city was sort of rejoicing. At the Kempe Center where we knew that most people didn’t kidnap three year olds just to toss them in an outhouse, we thought, “well, gosh that’s great. Maybe that’s a terrific outcome.” Two days later the Sheridan police department brought us a videotape and it says, Lori says when she’s sitting in her mom’s lap and the fourth guy stepped forward and she said, “mommy that’s him, that’s the bad man who put me in the hole.” The question the police had was, “is she reliable, a three year old telling the truth about that?” We said, “That’s reliable no question about it but it’s not admissible in court.” They said, “well what would you need to have it be admissible in court?” And we said, “well we would actually need a videotaped deposition ultimately but we should start with just an interview with Lori on videotape so we can sort out what happened.” David Jones, who was the child psychiatrist I had recruited from England, interviewed Lori for 45 minutes and we did this on Labor Day that year, 1983 because it was very quiet. I ran the video camera, her parents waited outside in our waiting room and she played out precisely over the 45 minutes everything that happened to her from the time she was playing in the front yard to when he kidnapped her to what he did to being in the hole to having the nice woman find her to the man who came down and pulled her out and it was absolutely clear that she knew precisely what was going on. We told that to the police and the District Attorney and basically they took it from there. Later, there was an actual videotape deposition where her assailant’s lawyer got to cross examine her through David. Lori was a little irritated with that process because she thought she’d been asked the questions over and over again but she absolutely specifically identified the individual who had kidnapped her and talked about what had happened and what he had done. When his attorney saw this tape he said, “we’re going to take a plea bargain. We don’t want to go to trial.” The next thing that happened was he actually pled guilty and had to write out his elocution of what he said happened and his elocution could have been subtitled on the 45 minute video that David had done with Lori. For about a year Lori came to the Center with her family. We were providing support for her family as well as David providing counseling to her. I became her pediatrician for a couple of years until she got different insurance and one day when she was four she walked into the Kempe Center. David and I were standing there, she pointed at him and said, “you’re my talking doctor” and then she pointed at me and said, “you’re my real doctor” Then she looked back at David and said, “I’m done talking.” And David said, “that’s fine, Lori, you’re doing very well and anytime you want to talk with me again you can call me.”
The next time I saw Lori after that particular year was once for a checkup when she was five then I didn’t see her again until 1998 when she was at that time 18. A senior in high school. I had become Dean of the School of Medicine and at four in the afternoon I got a call from my secretary who said, “there’s a young woman named Lori on the phone, do you want to talk with her?” and I picked up the phone and it was Lori and she told me she was doing a term paper on child abuse and could she come and ask me some questions. “When do you want to come?” I said and she said, “would 4:00 Wednesday be okay and I looked at my calendar and I had a meeting with the Chancellor about moving our campus to Fitzsimmons and I said, “Perfect, that’s a great time.” She came in at 4:00, she had 19 questions written out on a piece of paper, it took about 20 minutes for us to get through the list and talk and at the end she looked up at me and she said, “you know my mom told me that you and Dr. Jones saved my life and I just wanted to say thank you.” Well, we both got a little teary. It’s not often in pediatrics you have that situation where a decade or two later a patient comes back to thank you. I decided we needed to talk with David, he was back in England, it was nearly midnight there but we gave him a call and he and Lori got to catch up for about 45 minutes and he was pleased to hear from her. After that we saw each other in 2002 at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect had its meeting in Denver. David actually came and we had a little reunion at that time and then I didn’t see Lori much until she was an intern at the Kempe Center and I was the Dean of the medical school still. She came back and we talked and in 2014 after she had gotten her counseling degree and after she had started her practice, I was ready to step down as Dean. WE had a conversation at that time as well. Should I stop there?
>> Lori: No I mean I guess I can kind of just take it from there and so those conversations led to Dick and I ultimately deciding to work together at the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect. We’ll have our next podcast on how EndCAN came about so be sure to tune in on our next podcast and thanks so much for joining us today. That’s the history of Lori and Dick. Have a great day. Take care. Bye bye.
[Inspirational theme music plays.]
>>Lori: I want to thank each of you again for joining us today and listening in. If you or someone you know is being abused, please call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. To learn more about EndCAN, visit www.endcan.org or find us on all social media platforms. Join us in being Louder than Silence and being a part of the change. Please leave a comment, like our podcast, or share with your friends. The more the word spreads, the more of a collective impact we can have. If you have a question or you know someone who would want to be a guest on our podcast, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again, and have a great day.