Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who took his own life while serving a prison sentence for murder, was sexually abused as a child, according to an investigation by the Boston Globe.
The Globe’s Spotlight team published the first installment of a six-part investigation into Hernandez’s life on Saturday, based on interviews, government records and correspondence sent by Hernandez while he served a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez’s brother, Jonathan, told the Globe their father had physically abused them when they were boys. Jonathan also said Aaron had told him he had been sexually abused as a child. Hernandez’s lawyer, George Leontire, said he had heard the same story, although neither man named the alleged abuser.
The Globe also spoke to Hernandez’s childhood friend and high-school football teammate Dennis SanSoucie. He said the pair would smoke marijuana before and after football practice and also had a sexual relationship. SanSoucie said they kept the relationship secret as Hernandez’s father was homophobic. “Me and him were very much into trying to hide what we were doing. We didn’t want people to know,” SanSoucie told the Globe.
Hernandez formed a formidable receiving duo with Rob Gronkowski at the New England Patriots, the best team in the NFL this century. However, during the 2013 off-season he was arrested for the murder of Lloyd and later sentenced to life without parole. He was acquitted of a double murder in another case, but took his own life in April 2017. It was revealed after Hernandez’s death that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a form of brain trauma that can lead to mood swings and depression. The condition can only be diagnosed after death and is common among former NFL players.