October 29, 2012, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard recounted his own sexual abuse by coaches he trusted, telling a Penn State audience [that] he hoped to encourage other victims to report abuse to police. Leonard spoke at a sold-out conference on child sex abuse hosted by Penn State weeks after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to prison for 30 to 60 years for sexually assaulting 10 boys he befriended through his charity for at-risk youth. Leonard, 56, who retired after winning world boxing titles in five different weight classes, said as a youth he was sexually assaulted by men he trusted as his boxing coaches. The former champion said he used drugs and alcohol to “numb” his shame of being a victim of child sexual abuse. Now Leonard said he wants to step into the spotlight as a leader in the fight against child sex abuse in the hopes it will help other victims find the courage to report crimes to police. Since Sandusky’s sentencing, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, says the volume of calls to its sexual assault hotline has increased 47 percent.
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