(WHAS11 Political Blog) -- State Representative Tom Burch of Louisville has disclosed that he was sexually abused by a priest while he was a junior high school student.
Burch explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader's Beth Musgrave that before he publicly acknowledged the abuse in a letter to to editor on May 30, he had privately told people about the abuse and accepted therapy with other abuse survivors provided by the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Burch's letter rallied to the defense of American nuns who have come under fire from the Vatican in recent weeks.
"I was never sexually abused by a nun, but I was sexually abused by a priest," Burch wrote.
Burch, 80, was first elected to the Kentucky Legislature in 1972. A Democrat, the U.S. Navy Veteran and long time General Electric employee has used his post as Chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee to advocate for children's issues.
"I think that as political leaders, it's important that we do talk about these things," Burch told the Herald-Leader. "It's not something that you want to talk about so much, but it also shouldn't be a secret. Parents need to be more aware of what is going on and how to protect their children."
He declined to name the priest, who he said is dead, or give the name of the parish where he attended church at the time of the abuse."There is no good that can come from it," Burch said.
"We applaud Rep. Burch for his courage," said David Clohessy, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "It's always tough to disclose horrific childhood trauma, especially at the hands of a trusted clergyman. But each time a victim speaks publicly, he or she makes the road to recovery a little less lonely for others who are suffering."