Cárdenas starts legal defense fund for sex abuse lawsuit
Rep. McSally accuses high school coach of sexual abuse
"It took a while for me to come to a place where I understood what the hell I had been through," McSally told the Journal. "At the time, I was so afraid. I now understand - like many girls and boys who are abused by people in authority over them - there's a lot of fear and manipulation and shame."
McSally, who is running for the Senate in the upcoming midterm election, said she did not tell her family or friends about the abuse she experienced when she was 17 until a decade later. The congresswoman has spoken out in the past about being sexually harassed during her 26 years in the Air Force.
The abuse occurred during McSally's senior year of high school at an all-girls Catholic school in Rhode Island.
She said her coach, who was two decades older than her, pressured her to have sex with him and, as she grew uncomfortable with him, he used psychological actions to keep her quiet.
The coach, who the Journal identified as Jack Dwyer, denied McSally's allegations.
"I believe she's nuts," he said. "That girl is the most scheming woman I ever met."
McSally responded by saying Dwyer was a "troubled man who I have forgiven, and I hope he finds God's peace and grace," according to the Journal.
McSally reportedly told a woman about Dwyer's behavior and the woman told the school principal, who then fired Dwyer.
Dwyer claims he resigned from the high school to take another job, the Journal reported.