Behind the ’60 Minutes’ Interview: Lesley Stahl on Senator Scott Brown’s Sexual Abuse

On “60 Minutes” this week, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts reveals that he was sexually abused as a child several times by a camp counselor — and also suffered physical abuse at the hands of a stepfather. Watch Lesley Stahl’s report below

7 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Lesley, first off, wonderful piece. It was extremely enlightening about a man that was perilously close to being labeled a version of Dan Quayle (all looks – no brains). Yet in my opinion he comes off as a viable and tangible chose to run for president one day. I could see him in that role, simply from this interview.
    I find it fascinating how many politicians come from truly flawed childhoods. Young men and women that have endured events that have broken so many others, left others leading lives of drugs, alcohol and dysfunction. Yet for so many men who have gone on to succeed in politics, they used those hurdles as a catalyst for true achievements. I think that is to be applauded.
    What I like the most about Scott Brown is ironically the same thing about him that gives me pause. His very obvious desire to vote based on what “he” feels to be the best way. He isn’t taking what others have to say or may be going through in their lives as a barometer to guide his votes. On one hand that is great. However as Lesley’s interview touched on, he grew up on welfare, he himself benefited from welfare programs. So when a piece of legislation comes across his desk that offers the same service that he is a product of, why wouldn’t he want to support it? That is what gives me pause about him.
    His mindset IMO should always be, “I know this would be good for the people of my state because I have seen first hand how it helps. So because I know this to be true, I will support it.” It should not be “I know it may help people but I don’t feel right supporting it” To me that smacks of the worse type of hypocrisy.

  2. avatar Maggie W says:

    Sen. Brown is an apple who has fallen far from the family tree. He witnessed and endured horrific events when he was still quite small. There must be a steel reserve in him that most people cannot measure. He appears to have his head on straight about voting his conscience. Most often, our congressmen/women only listen and engage in conversations with their party. If Brown actually weighs all sides and all opinions and does his own research, , he is indeed a rare bird in this Congress. I can only hope his political flock multiplies. Perhaps he voted against the welfare reform bill because he saw a red flag in one section. Welfare has always been controversial and multilayered. Too often good bills don’t make the cut because there is a rotten apple in there somewhere and often tossed in at the last minute.

  3. avatar Dianne Lopp says:

    I thought your piece on Brown was brilliant and insightful—the look in his eyes when he discussed his abuse was haunting.  Leslie, you are a brilliant and beautiful journalist whom I admire but I will never forgive myself if I don’t say this:  Stop wearing blood red lipstick!!!! I’m no expert but I promise you, I say this as an admirer, not out of snideness! You ARE beautiful but that color ages you about 30 years and is so distracting!  It may be more subtle in real life but on camera, your mouth looks just like a red gash on your face!  There you are, gorgeous features, great hair, sparkling blue eyes—-and the mouth of a (I’m sorry) vampire after a fresh kill!!!!!! It does not flatter you AT ALL!  Please consider!

  4. avatar Anais P says:

    I really wish the question would have been asked: “Why, Senator, if your family survived on welfare when times were bad, are you so opposed to these kinds of programs that you have voted or are prepared to vote against them?” Why do people like the parents of Sen. Brown and Ronald Reagan take advantage of these programs when times are bad, but their more successful children want to pull up the ladder behind them? I don’t understand that compassionless policy making at all. And did the people of Massachusetts know Brown was such a juvenile deliquent when they elected him Senator?

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      It would have been an interesting question and probably an even more interesting answer. But it’s 60 Minutes. Maybe there weren’t enough minutes. 

    • avatar Chip Griswold says:

      Interesting question, but I have never heard Reagan or Brown say they were against welfare.  I could be wrong.  Both have questioned the seemingly “permanance” that the entitlement had evolved into.  The arguments were always not whether welfare was a helpful thing, but rather it should be temporary with an exit plan for those on it.  I think that was part of President Clinton’s willingness to sign the changes to welfare in the 90’s.  Much of which was an extension of Reagan initiatives.  Clearly Reagan was not a fan of welfare and wanted the “workfare” type of programs.  Clinton provided the five year cap on time to collect – not sure how effective that is/was or if it still in place.  Most of these things always have loopholes so extension seem to happen regardless of the bill.

      I would say it might not be passionless either.  It really depends on what theory you subscribe to.  If you subscribe to the belief that many entitlements, no matter how well intended, often end up as a perceived right – then you might take the position that there needs to be a limit, and at some point the accepting of responsibility: The Reagan and Brown theory.  If you feel that it is heartless to “force” people to do something, than the model just mentioned is an ugly one.

      Was Brown a juvenile delinquent?  That’s a litmus test we don’t normally make.  Was Clinton a non-inhaling pot smoking doper?   Did the Kennedy’s import booze and have some questionable profits?  Were Roosevelt’s ancestors in opium trade? 

      I wouldn’t care if all politicians were once on welfare, or their parents, providing they worked their way off of it and became contributors to society.  The problem is too many on welfare stay there with no intention of getting off of it.  Hard to entice someone to go to work when they jeopardize the free check, even if it isn’t a lot of money…..Welfare is a problem.

      Contrary to popular thought white americans comprise the largest number of welfare recipients: 38% of welfair recipients are white.  20% of people on welfare stay more than five years……..

  5. avatar Maizie James says:

    Lesley, your interview with Senator Scott Brown was great.  I always enjoy your 60 Minute interviews.  Yet, a few minutes into the conversation, I wondered why Brown decided to talk so openly about his abusive childhood.  Then, to my astonishment you asked him this very question … suggesting that his ‘confessions’ seemed the sort of material for OPRAH!
    I was relieved, feeling that I wasn’t the only person wondering why Scott decided to ‘tell all’ in his book and on national television.  I must say, that your questions to Scott was done very professionally, and gave viewers an intimate glimpse of Scott done with tact and in good taste.
    Thank you!