Sen. Scott Brown Says He Was Sexually Abused, Beaten, As a Child

In his soon-to-be-published memoir, Against All Odds, Senator Scott Brown (R.-Mass.) reveals that he was sexually abused as a child by a male camp counselor at a religious camp in Cape Cod and that he was beaten repeatedly by his stepfather. His mother, he says, was also beaten by his stepfather.  The Boston Globe reports that it received a copy of the book with its account of a ‘childhood in Wakefield and other Massachusetts towns that was punctuated by violence, family strife, and petty crime’ on Wednesday.


Brown has also taped an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes in which he details the sexual and physical abuse he suffered, the Wall Street Journal reports. CBS-TV released videotape of his interview today.

The abuse at the camp occurred when Brown was 10 years old. He had gone to the infirmary as he was not feeling well and the counselor followed him into the bathroom.  Brown describes the encounter in detail after which, the Boston Globe says:


Brown said he screamed and ran outside. The counselor told Brown later “that if I told anybody, ever, he’d hurt me badly,” Brown writes.

Brown kept quiet, though he told his family he didn’t want to go to camp again. Even so, he was back the next summer — and so was the counselor.

“I stayed for the entire summer month, kept my distance from him, and nothing happened. … But I was always on my guard.”

This incident was not the first time, Brown says, that he ‘faced a potential sex abuser’; he describes an incident with a 13-year-old boy, whom then-8-year-old Brown thought was a friend. One afternoon, the older boy ‘approached Brown in the woods, threatened him with a knife, and commanded Brown to perform a sexual act, according to Brown’s account.’
Brown also writes about the beatings he was subjected to by his stepfather, whom he refers to as Dan Sullivan:


Brown writes that on the morning his younger sister was being born, he was supposed to wake up his stepfather and get him out of bed.

“I pulled and I prodded, the smell of alcohol stinging my nose. He was a combination of drunk and hung over, and he would not get up,” Brown writes.

Finally, Dan opened his eyes. “He rubbed his face and caught sight of the clock, and the next thing I knew, he balled his hands into fists and began smacking me around. He pounded my head, my back, and plowed into me with those massive knuckles and flat, sandpapery palms until I was shaking and sobbing and snot was pouring out of my nose.”

When the beating was done, Brown’s stepfather threatened to kill him if he told his mother, Brown says.

“I knew that he would kill me,” Brown writes. “I was six years old and completely alone with him. It was a feeling of fear and hopelessness that I could barely comprehend.”

Brown describes writing about the abuse he suffered as ‘cathartic’ and ‘had never before told his wife or mother of some of the abuse detailed in the book.’ The Atlantic quotes part of his CBS interview:

“It was certainly, back then, very traumatic,” Brown said in a clip released by CBS today. “When people find people like me at that young, vulnerable age who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is they make you believe that no one will believe you.”

“I haven’t told anybody. That’s what happens when you’re a victim. You’re embarrassed, you’re hurt,” he said.

You can see Brown’s interview at CBS’ website.

Photo by Gabi Hernandez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Anne L.
laurence h5 years ago

So sorry.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

So sorry for the trauma he had to endure. Children are innocent and small, and need adults to be vigilant to the warning signs. Don't be afraid to contact the authorities if you feel a child is being abuse. Better to be wrong, than to have abuse go unchecked.

Claude H.
Claude Hines7 years ago

As I was saying - - As a fellow victim of sexual and physical abuse, my prayers go out for Senator Scott. May he find healing for the past through God and the courage to vote on behalf of the young and helpless in the future.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

I feel for anyone who has ever been abuse, physically, emotionally or mentally. Been their and you never do lose that child, you can only hope to try to heal her/him.

If his accusations are true he should name names. If this counselor is still alive he should name him. He may not be able to try him in a court of law but he can try him in public. How many other boys have been abused by his abuser because he was silent once a teen or an adult and able to think the situation through? I am always a little suspecious of those who accuse but never name their accusers.

I must admit I too am a little confused by his beliefs. I did look up his voting record and it is not of a man who is empathic with this fellow human beings.

Perhaps Senator Brown is just conflicted by never confronting this abuse before. I hope he gets the understanding and helps he needs. It's never too late to heal.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S7 years ago

Why is he a Republican? The party which is against every bill that ever comes up for children, struggling families, worker rights, individual freedoms (except the 'freedom' to make as much money as possible with the fewest regulations & taxes). He is coming out with this but has it made him a more empathetic, caring person? We'll have to check out his voting record on human rights, help for families, especially children. This should be interesting...

Ira L.
Ellie L7 years ago

What is the real purpose of this "catharsis?" His votes in the Senate depict a man who cares little about his fellow man/woman. Empathetic? I think not. Does he think this will gain him votes? or money? It is hard to tell. I will study him closely. Then again, people are easy to fool.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik7 years ago

It is one thing to finally admit that something happened & that it was bad. It is another to actually deal with it, and heal from it. It seems to me that he really hasn't dealt with it and he is still clutching on to it. He needs professional counseling. It is not that he is crazy or bad or rotten inside but that he needs to talk to someone professionally about what happened to him and learn to heal from it.
To have been raped by a counselor at a Bible camp? That would have shaken me to the core & I would have gotten as far from any religion as I could. But by then he was already being a victim because he was being systematically beaten by his stepfather. Amazing to me, that no one noticed. I taught in the 70s - we were taught to look for signs of abuse and to report them.
I don't know anything about Scott Brown. He is not my representative. It has been my experience that when abuse occurs one of 2 things take place - one either becomes fearful & later stands up to help others experiencing the same thing or one becomes a total bully. At any rate, I wish him healing.

Patricia P.
Patricia P7 years ago

Based on his past, you would think that Brown would be more empathetic to the suffering of others, but his votes indicate otherwise. He voted against the extension of unemployment benefits for workers, and for the $700 billion tax cut for the rich.

Hardship seems to create empathy and sympathy in some, and a cold blooded selfishness in others. Brown seems to fall in the latter category.

To people speculating why he is coming out with this now: to help him win re-election in liberal MA, which does not like his votes, but who he hopes will feel sorry for him. It's a distraction from his out of step positions on issues. Also, he wants to make money selling his book.

Mansura S.
Mansura Sajahan7 years ago

I beg to differ from Joshua. I think Senator Brown is very brave to put his experience down in writing. Hopefully he will be able to put these behind him. I also hope that being in a position of power, he will be able to do something positive for children who are being abused.

Olivia Schlosser
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks. I am an empath...but am having trouble being empathic in this case...