'I battled demons': Teri Hatcher recalls childhood sexual abuse by her uncle in open letter to Trump

Teri Hatcher wants President Trump to understand what it’s like to be a victim of sexual assault.

The Desperate Housewives and Lois & Clark actress, 53, recounted the first time she was victimized — at age 5 by an uncle, Richard Hayes Stone, in a car — in an open letter to the president that she shared on social media. She explained what she remembered about the assault in great detail — what he said, what he did, what she saw, what position she was in, how she felt during it — and then went on to detail what she didn’t remember as a clear message to the man who mocked Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally on Tuesday.

“Here’s what I DO NOT remember,” Hatcher wrote. “The address of where it happened. How I got there. How I got home. What day or month it was. If anyone was drinking beer.”

Hatcher wasn’t assaulted only once — she was abused for several years in the 1960s and early ’70s, seeing Stone, who was married to her mother’s sister, for the last time when she was 8 or 9. “Sadly, myself and then decades later, teenager Sarah Van Cleemput, were abused by the same man. She committed suicide. I battled demons.”

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Teri Hatcher out and about in recent years
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Teri Hatcher is seen on February 13, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10: Teri Hatcher and Emerson Tenney are seen on January 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 20: Teri Hatcher and her daughter Emerson are seen on December 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Teri Hatcher is seen on September 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
JUNE 16, 2017: SYDNEY, NSW - (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Actress Teri Hatcher walks through Sydney Airport in Sydney, New South Wales. Teri Hatcher is in Sydney for the Supanova convention. (Photo by John Grainger/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03: Teri Hatcher is seen on June 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 25: Actress Teri Hatcher attends the Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary at Disneyland Paris on March 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 22: Actress Teri Hatcher is spotted on 'Place des Petits Peres' on March 22, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Actress Teri Hatcher arrives at the 2016 Children's Hospital Los Angeles 'Once Upon a Time' Gala at the L.A. Live Event Deck on October 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 3: 'My Best Friend's Girl' -- To avoid a night of boredom, Oscar suggests that Charlotte (Teri Hatcher) take Felix out on their artsy cultural dates in his place. Also, Emily enlists Dani, Teddy and Murph's help when she has to produce 100 necklaces for an event, on THE ODD COUPLE, Monday, Dec. 12 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Teri Hatcher as Charlotte and Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15: Actors Teri Hatcher (L) and Emerson Tenney (R) attend the after party of 'Big Sky' opening night at Napa Valley Grille on June 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: Teri Hatcher is seen on June 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG003/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 10: Teri Hatcher attends Opening Reception For Gregory Siff's 'Portrait Of An American Ice Cream Man' on June 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Lowell Peterson and Teri Hatcher attend the 30th Annual ASC Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Teri Hatcher is seen on February 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Teri Hatcher seen at LAX on November 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Actress Teri Hatcher wipes away tears after her speech during the United Nations Official Commemoration of the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 24: Actress Teri Hatcher lights the Empire State Building orange in a special ceremony to commemorate the International Day to End Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence on November 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Actress Teri Hatcher departs the United Nations following the United Nations Official Commemoration of the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
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Hatcher ended the post by writing: “Mr. President, I am a survivor, who stands available to help you understand the way the memories of a trauma like that work. It might be hard for you to understand. I can readily explain in detail that ‘I don’t remember’ is often the most honest response surrounding questions of an assault. It does NOT mean it didn’t happen. Please do not add ‘Mocked by President’ to the injury list of a sexual survivor. It’s just plain wrong.”

What Hatcher didn’t note in her post was that she bravely helped convict Stone, who died in prison in 2008 at the age of 70. When Cleemput died by suicide in 2002, she left a note incriminating Stone, who was a family friend. After seeing the story in a newspaper when she was visiting her parents, Hatcher contacted prosecutors to say that Stone had molested her too.

Hatcher’s telling her story of abuse was key in getting the 2002 conviction. (Prosecutors had doubts before because Stone’s other alleged victims, three other girls, wouldn’t speak to authorities. After being presented with a transcript of Hatcher’s account, he pleaded guilty in 2002, leaving no need for a trial or a court appearance for Hatcher.) She broke her silence to the media about it in an emotional interview with Vanity Fair in 2006. She openly discussed how complicated childhood assault can be. She said that she didn’t tell anyone as a child, so it went on for years until Stone came to visit when she was 8 or 9 and she had an emotional outburst. While her mom sensed something wasn’t right and removed Hatcher from the situation (she never saw her uncle or aunt again), the abuse wasn’t discussed. “My parents are really well intended, and I think their way of dealing with things is denial and guilt,” she said. “Nobody wanted to talk about it. But all I did was blame myself.”

Hatcher talked about the added trauma of coming forward to prosecutors as someone who was in the limelight — she feared that tabloids would smear her name and paint her as a has-been actress. “At the end of the day, there was no way I was not going to put this girl first, before whatever damage might be done to me,” she told the magazine.

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