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Aaron Hernandez was sexually molested and physically abused as a child, per Globe Spotlight series

Alex Reimer
October 14, 2018 - 1:32 pm

I was skeptical of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight series about Aaron Hernandez, because there didn’t seem to be much left about his life to uncover. The disgraced ex-star’s story had been told in every medium, from long-form magazine write-ups to cable documentaries. But part one of the investigation, which was published Sunday and looks at Hernandez’s upbringing, uncovers several new details about his painful past. 

The Globe adds greater context to Hernandez’s relationship with his deceased father, whose death during Hernandez’s junior year of high school is often marked as the dark turning point for the former Patriots standout. Through interviews, documents and jailhouse calls, the Spotlight team uncovers that Hernandez’s dad, Dennis, regularly abused Aaron and his older brother, Jonathan. 

“I picked up the phone once to call, to seek help,” Jonathan said to the Globe about the abuse. “And (my dad’s) response was, ‘Call them.’ And he handed me the phone, and he said, ‘I’m going to beat you even harder, you and your brother, and they’re going to have to pull me off of you when they knock down the door.’”

Jonathan also reveals Aaron was sexually molested as a young boy, though he doesn’t identify the perpetrator. One of Hernandez’s high school ex-girlfriends spoke about the alleged abuse in the Oxygen documentary about Hernandez that aired in March.

Hernandez hung himself in his jail cell in April 2017. He was serving a life sentence for the slaying of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was found not guilty in a double murder case the week before his suicide.