Negative Health Outcomes Increase for Sexually Abused Boys

“Numerous studies have established that childhood stressors such as abuse can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes and behaviors, such as substance abuse, suicide attempts, and depressive disorders”

— EUR. ARACH PSYCHIATRY CLIN. NEUROSCIENCE 174, 175 (Nov. 2005)

“Sexual abuse in childhood increases the risk of suicide in men by up to ten times.”

— University of Bath, Researchers

As another April is upon us, and being Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month, and given that substance abuse and suicide rates continue to increase, more focus has been placed on the negative health impact for victims of childhood sexual abuse. And rightly so. While many comprehensive studies focus on the aggregate statistics, my view as a survivor of sexual abuse is from experience. Many victims, including me, turned to alcohol and drugs in our youth to numb out and escape the feelings of shame connected to being molested by an adult we trusted.

The man who abused me, Thomas M. Goerner of Reading PA, was a man I trusted. He had a seemingly endless access to young boys through is involvement as a scout leader in Reading PA, as an employer who hired only young teenage boys, a parent with children and now grandchildren of his own, and other related family members and their children. In 2012, when I was preparing to file civil suit against Tom Goerner, I became aware of the passing of a nephew of Tom Goerner, named Steven Goerner, photo below. As I recall the details of Steven’s passing, it was sudden and there was a history of substance abuse.

Steven Goerner passed away at the age of 40 in December 2012, a few days before Christmas. While I never met Steven, I feel like I know him. It breaks my heart to think that he may have struggled for the same reasons I struggled in my lifetime, from the same experiences, and from the same person. Two months later, in February 2013, I filed a civil suit against Tom Goerner for the sexual abuse he perpetrated against me between 1978-1982. I have no proof whatsoever that Uncle Tommy molested his young nephew. I do not. But what I do know from reading Steven Goerner’s obituary is that he was a boy with an engaging smile, who Uncle Tommy presumably spent time around, was Christine Goerner’s (Tom’s wife) treasured nephew (according to her own obit tribute at the time on Facebook), and that many were struggling to make sense of how an accomplished young man with so much to look forward to could wind up with such a tragic end of his short life.

Again I will reiterate, I have no knowledge that Tom Goerner molested his nephew. However, Tom Goerner did molest me, and nine other boys that I know of.

To report corrections or make comments, please email this sexual abuse victim of Tom Goerner.

Date Published: April 2, 2023