Republican Senator reveals abuse as a child

The Republican US Senator who shook the American political landscape just over one year ago by snatching the US Senate seat in Massachusetts that had been held for decades by the late Ted Kennedy, reveals in a new memoir that he was molested as a child while at summer camp and got into trouble for shop-lifting.

Senator Scott Brown says the abuse happened "more than once" at the hands of a summer camp counsellor when he was a boy, according to an interview with CBS due to be screened on Sunday.

"Fortunately nothing was ever fully consummated so to speak. But it was certainly, back then, very traumatic. He [the counsellor] said, 'If you tell anybody, I'll kill you'."

He also said that he had been physically abused by his stepfather. He said he had looked into buying a home where his stepfather had physically abused him just so he could "burn it down."

The Boston Globe, which obtained a copy of the book, reported that its pages also include an admission that his shoplifting escapades included taking a three-piece suit from a shop while a teenager. He had previously acknowledged stealing albums from a record shop when he was 12 years old.

The memoir, Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks and Second Chances, will be seen as a prelude to the re-election effort that Senator Brown must launch next year for a full six-year term.

It's not clear who his opponent will be with the Democrats trying to find a candidate after the widow of Senator Kennedy, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, made it clear she was not interested in running.

Previously, the most startling item in the CV of the Senator, whose surprise victory last year robbed the Democrats of their super-majority in the Senate and came in part thanks to strong Tea Party backing, was his having posed nude for a double-page spread in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Senator Brown admits in the CBS interview that he never reported the camp counsellor and indeed never told anyone about what happened to him until now. "My mom will read about it for the first time. My wife... is... is..." Senator Brown trailed off with the emotion of the moment.

Composing himself, he later says: "I haven't told anybody. That's what happens when you're a victim. You're embarrassed. You're hurt."