120312WilsonAug. 24, 2012

My EDENTON7 license plate recently caught the eye of a former Little Rascals Day Care parent who left Edenton.

Although Maria – a pseudonym, as she still has family back home – withdrew her daughter from Little Rascals in 1989 after less than two months, it was because of outside circumstances, not because of any dissatisfaction with the care received. “It was a normal day care, clean and quiet,” she says.

The torrent of ritual-abuse rumors started soon after.

She was unsure what to make of it all until a former classmate, Dawn Wilson, was caught up in the dragnet. “Dawn had sat in front of me in high school,” she recalls. “She was quiet and shy, but she opened up to me about wanting to have a baby. She was a loving person. When I heard her name mentioned, I knew right then it couldn’t be true.”

Maria worked at Hardee’s, where she found it “painful to watch” Betsy Kelly’s parents, Warren and Alice Twiddy,  being ostracized by their Wednesday-morning coffee klatch. “They were respected people…. She was the clerk of court. It was like she couldnt believe the town was doing this to her.”

Maria’s most surprising observation: “I think PBS (“Frontline”) changed the minds of a lot of people in Edenton. They saw how the gossip and innuendo had worked.”