His book, to be released on Monday and obtained by the Globe today, vividly details a childhood in Wakefield and other Massachusetts towns that was punctuated by violence, family strife, and petty crime.
Brown discloses that, as a teen, he engaged in numerous incidents of shoplifting, including stealing a three-piece suit from a department store and steaks and hamburger from the supermarket. He expands on a previously disclosed incident, when he was caught shoplifting albums by Black Sabbath and other rock artists and was admonished by a judge to straighten up.
Brown says in the book that he was sexually assaulted when he was 10 years old at a religious camp in Cape Cod, which he attended in the summer of fourth grade.
Brown says the counselor who fondled him was in his mid-20s. He does not disclose the name of the camp in his book, or the denomination.
"I can remember how he looked, every inch of him: his long sandy, light brown hair; his long, full mustache; the beads he wore; the tie-dyed T-shirts and the cutoff jeans, which gave him the look of a hippie," Brown writes in the book, "Against All Odds."
Brown said the abuse occurred when he went to the camp infirmary, not feeling well. The counselor followed him into the bathroom, according to Brown's account.
"I was standing there with my pants down and he came right up next to me and asked me if I needed help, and then he reached out his hand," Brown writes, continuing with a graphic description of the encounter.
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."
The incident was a hard lesson, Brown writes.
"There were, I knew now, no safe havens, no one I could truly trust, just my legs beneath me, running, riding as far as they could carry me, and the slow motion of my lips, offering up a silent prayer."
Brown will make an appearance on a "60 Minutes" segment on Sunday. The CBS-TV program today released videotape of his interview, in which he discusses the sexual molestation and his difficult childhood.
In the book, Brown says the incident with the counselor was not the first time he faced a potential sex abuser.
In an earlier episode Brown describes, when he was about 8 and living in Malden, he befriended a 13-year old boy from the neighborhood. Late one winter afternoon, the friend approached Brown in the woods, threatened him with a knife, and commanded Brown to perform a sexual act, according to Brown's account. Feeling desperate, Brown says, he hit the teenager in the face with a rock and ran away.
"To this day," the senator writes, "I can still see the flash of that knife blade in the woods and the thirteen-year-old boy with his pants down."
In the 1960s, Brown's divorced mother was remarried to a truck driver who Brown identifies as Dan Sullivan. The family moved to Revere. 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."
Not long after, Brown woke up in bed to the sounds of "screaming and banging." He ran to see what was the matter.
"My mom was screaming and yelling, and crying big choking sobs, and he was hitting her, his fists landing blow after blow," Brown writes.
Brown says he rushed him and bit him through his pants. "He tasted of soiled Dickies fabric, of course male hair and sweaty skin, but I bit down hard, right on the inside of his thigh, and just as I had seen him do, I made a fist and began trying to hit him," Brown writes. "He began pounding my head until my brain rattled like a Jell-o mold turned upside down."
Neighbors called the police. "It took a few more months before Dan Sullivan was gone. But from that night on, I knew that I had to be the man of the house, that I had to be the protector above all other things."
Brown writes about how his father was mostly absent from his life, and that his family grew up with little money.
"At school, I was often a free-lunch kid, ravenous for whatever hot food came out of the cafeteria line. ... I remember days when the largest things we had in our fridge were milk and blocks of yellow government-issue cheese.”
On the beat
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