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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 11

Cheryl Burke reveals child molestation, abuse by former boyfriends

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/26/2011 

Cheryl Burke has revealed she was molested as a child and physically abused by a pair of former boyfriends.

The Dancing with the Stars professional dancer was repeatedly molested by a family friend who was sent to jail for nearly 20 years after she testified against him in court, People reported Wednesday.

"I'm telling my story," Burke told People. "They're not secrets. There's no shame."

The 26-year-old is telling her story in her new book Dancing Lessons, in which Burke also details that she was physically abused by two former boyfriends. 

Burke, a two-time Dancing with the Stars champion who won the show's second and third seasons, was reportedly only five-years-old when the her abuser began molesting her. According to People, he was a respected retired mailman in Burke's San Francisco area community who would often pick her up from school and work small jobs near her home.

Burke eventually acknowledged her own abuse and became a witness once her molester began facing accusations about other children, but still found it difficult to speak out against him, People reported.

"I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection," Burke said. "[It was] the hardest thing I've ever done... I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, 'What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?'" 

However Burke is apparently no longer confused about the situation and hopes to reach out to others and relate to them on a personal level by sharing her own story.

"If I can help just one person, for me, that's all that matters," Burke said. 

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