*CNN’s Don Lemon said Monday night that Christine Blasey Ford’s attempted rape allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sparked a conversation with a family member “extremely close to me” who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend.
“In my life, it hasn’t mattered if the person was 17 or 70 — the pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away,” he said.
Lemon then showed the clip from eight years ago where he revealed that he had been sexually abused.
“Here’s my message then, and now, and today: People aren’t always who they present themselves to be in public,” he said. “A molester doesn’t have an ‘M’ on their forehead. … People are tricky characters. Innocent until proven guilty must remain the law of the land, but at the same time, some guilty people do cloak themselves in innocence. Remember, after all, Bill Cosby was ‘America’s Dad’ not so long ago.”
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Lemon said he knows firsthand that “no one ever wants to come forward, even to family, friends or loved ones, let alone the entire country.”
The cable host was sexually assaulted when he was young, but he did not publicly speak about the experience until 2010, while interviewing members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church about sexual abuse allegations against Bishop Eddie Long.
“You want me to tell you what got my attention about this?” Lemon said at the time. “And I’ve never admitted this on television: I am a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid — someone who was much older than me.”
Lemon noted that his alleged abuser was a teenager, which is why he’s not here for some of the arguments made in Kavanaugh’s defense.
“It has been really frustrating to me to hear people ignorantly excusing a 17-year-old possibly committing sexual assault as ‘boys will be boys,’ ‘teenage hormones,’ ‘testosterone at work here,’” Lemon said. “Well let me tell you, in my life, it hasn’t mattered if the person was 17 or 70. The pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away.”
As reported by The Week, Lemon doesn’t know whether Kavanaugh or his accusers are telling the truth, but said: “Are we interested in truth, are we interested in healing, or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people’s lives?”
Watch Lemon below.