Dianne Lake was 14 when she fell under the murderous cult leader’s spell—and later helped send him to prison. Now she’s sharing the secrets she kept for decades

By the time Dianne Lake was 14, she had trailed after her hippie parents through a commune, smoking pot, dropping acid and having three-way sex with near-strangers. Deep in ’60s counterculture and without guidance (her homemaker mom and her dad, a former Marine turned artist, had checked out, giving her a signed note setting her free), “I fell through the cracks,” Lake recalls. “I needed love and a family.” Charles Manson gave her both.

Now, in Member of the Family, exclusively excerpted here, Lake, 64, breaks 47 years of silence on her infamy as the youngest of “Charlie’s Girls,” the women who lived under the cult leader’s sway on his two California ranches. She did not participate in the Manson family’s slaughtering of seven people on two horrifying nights in 1969, crimes that would come to be known as the Tate-LaBianca murders—but at age 17, she testified against the killers after being institutionalized for “deprogramming” and taken in by an

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