A state employee who works with mental health patients has been reassigned to administrative duties after her appearance on a nationally televised show in which she claimed a satanic cult forced her to kill people when she was a little girl.
Connie Valentine, 49, of Davis normally helps mental health patients find vocational training and rehabilitation services in the state Department of Rehabilitation's Woodland office. She is not supposed to provide counseling for clients.
"We are conducting an investigation on the allegations and concerns brought to my attention," said the department's chief deputy director, Rich Bayquen. Valentine has been assigned to administrative work in Sacramento.
Valentine said Friday much of what has been said about her and her work in Woodland since the show aired in November has been "inaccurate and maybe even slanderous." But she confirmed that during her interview for the Fox network TV show "Sightings" she did say she had been involved in satanic ritual killings.
"That was 45 years ago and it was all reported to law enforcement," Valentine said. "But I didn't realize that the show would be so lurid, and a lot of what I said was chopped up and taken out of context."
"Sightings" features stories on such subjects as the "occult" and extraterrestiral life. t airs Fridays on Channel 40 (KTXL) in the Sacramento area.
Valentine declined to explain Friday just what she felt she participated in as a little girl, saying she preferred to put everything in writing some day.
But she added, "I wanted people to know that it is a sad fact that this (satanic rituals) is going on with the children of Yolo and Sacramento counties, and the children are terrified to talk about it."
The "Sightings" interview reportedly has Valentine stating that "they" would put a knife in her hand and then guide the knife into a victim. Bayquen said he has seen a tape of the interview as it was aired and confirmed that was what Valentine said.
When asked if she was only 4 years old at the time of the alleged killings, Valentine replied only that "there were several occasions that happened" and declined to discuss the matter further.
Asked if these experences have influenced her dealings with her clients, Valentine responded: Good grief, no. That's ridiculous."
Yolo County Medical Health Director Steve Mayberg said Friday that rumors and innuendoes about the interview "developed a life of their own" after the show was aired and that he asked the state Department of Rehabilitation to conduct an investigation.
The county mental health agency refers clients to the state Department of Rehabilitation.
"Who knows what's really going on?" Mayberg said. "Let's find out and then lay it to rest. My concern was that (the rumors) were getting in the way of people doing their business."
Mayberg said Valentine "does a good job" and that "there has never been a question of her devotion to her job."