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5 Browns hope story of abuse will help abuse survivors

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Dec. 8, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Several siblings of The 5 Browns told their story of abuse in their first television interview on "The Today Show" Thursday morning.

In February, their father, Keith Brown, was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison for abusing three of the daughters for years throughout their childhood.

The three sisters kept the secret from each other and the public until 2007. Desirae, Deondra and Melody were sexually abused by their father, Keith Brown, who was also their manager. Each of the five siblings began piano lessons at age three and in a few years performed with symphony orchestras. The abuse for the girls began soon after that.

"It was just one of those things that, not only, do you not want to talk about but I think a certain part of you just shoves it away in the back closet somewhere," Deonda Brown said.

The family music group is still performing. They have topped the music charts and received critical acclaim. They are a musical phenomenon and now they are placing themselves in the spotlight to help other survivors of abuse.

The brothers and sisters from Alpine, Utah are united onstage and off. Audiences love them. Despite the horrific revelation of sexual abuse of the three sisters, they say their music still brings them peace. They also say they tried to keep knowledge of the abuse private and get their father to accept help.

"We approached my father and our parents and we thought that we could deal with this within the family," said Desirae Brown, one of the sisters. "You just expect somebody to take full accountability, that there would be extreme remorse. And that was lacking in our situation."

The 5 Browns have set up the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse. Their goal is to repeal the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases in every state.

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Carole Mikita


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