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Fresno State AD reveals molestation as child, tells other victims ‘don’t be ashamed

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In a residential treatment facility last month, 44 years of anxiety, guilt and shame began to lift off the shoulders of Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko.

Bartko checked himself into Sierra Tucson, which provides rehabilitation services in Tucson, Ariz., on Dec. 20 with the intent of addressing issues with insomnia and anxiety that began as a child. After some inconclusive tests, a therapist asked Bartko a poignant and terrifying question: “Why did you not sleep when you were 11?”

In that moment, Bartko decided it was time to finally tell someone that he was molested around 35 times in the early 1970s by his childhood Catholic priest and basketball coach, Stephen Kiesle, in the rectory of Saint Joseph Church in Pinole, about 18 miles north of Oakland.

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The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

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