BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown defended his decision not to pursue a criminal investigation against the camp counselor he said molested him when he was a child, saying Tuesday that he's not looking to settle old scores.
Brown details the encounter in his autobiography "Against All Odds," which tells the story of the Republican's troubled childhood and his election to the Senate seat held for decades by the late Democrat Edward Kennedy.
In the book, Brown said he was approached by a camp counselor in a bathroom the summer after fourth grade. The counselor made sexual advances, but Brown said he yelled and ran away. He said the counselor later threatened to hurt him if he told anyone.
Brown, who hadn't revealed the episode publicly until writing the book, said he has no interest in Massachusetts investigators pursuing charges against the camp or the counselor.
"It's 42 years, first of all. It's stale. There's certainly a lot of evidentiary issues. It's almost half a century," Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press. "For each person it's different as to what they want to do, and I'm not looking backward."
Asked if he knows whether the man who abused him is still alive, Brown said, "I don't."
He also said he has "no evidence or facts" about whether the man abused other children.
"I'm comfortable where I'm at with this. It's taken 42 years to get there," he said. "I'm hopeful that what I said will help others to deal with their own situations."
Brown said he's already received an outpouring of support from other abuse survivors.
Although he shied away from saying how public a role he wanted to take as a voice for those who have been abused, he said he's always fought for victims' rights.
He also said one issue he hopes to champion is the battle against child trafficking.
"It's somewhat related," he said.
Brown said he saw no conflict between his history as an abuse survivor and his support for a GOP congressional candidate and former police officer who was faulted for failing to prevent his partner from illegally strip-searching a 14-year-old girl.
The candidate, Jeffrey Perry, wasn't charged in the case, but during last year's election the woman who said she was illegally strip-searched by an officer under Perry's command released a statement saying Perry must have heard her screams, but did nothing to help her.
Brown recorded a radio ad for Perry and told one local newspaper that Perry had run "an honest campaign." Perry lost.
Brown said there is no comparison between the two cases.
"There's absolutely no correlation about what I went through and my support of the congressional candidates," Brown said, referring to a slew of GOP contenders. "The person who did it went to jail and rightly so."
Brown said he hopes to inspire others by not glossing over the rough patches in his life, including his physical abuse at the hands of stepfathers and his arrest for shoplifting.
Brown also said Tuesday that he has no plans to run for president next year, but will support Mitt Romney if the former Republican Massachusetts governor jumps in the race.
"I'm not sure who's going to run, but if it's Mitt Romney, certainly I would support him as I did before," he said.
Brown said he likes his job and is working to raise money to mount a successful re-election campaign next year.
Massachusetts Democrats are still smarting at their loss of the Senate seat and say their top goal in the 2012 election is to oust Brown.
That could prove tough.
Brown remains widely popular with Massachusetts voters in polls and is already sitting on more than $7 million in his campaign account, much of it left over from last year's special election.
"We're going to have enough money to fight back against all the special interest money that is going to come in from all over the country," he said.
He also brushed aside criticism from some tea party members who supported his candidacy but have been dismayed with some of Brown's more moderate positions as senator.
"I've had a lot of tea party members say they are very proud of my independence," he said.