TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Arizona Rep. Martha McSally said she was sexually abused by a high school coach when she was a teen.
McSally is one of several people running to fill the Senate seat of Jeff Flake, who is retiring.
In the interview, McSally said the abuse happened when she was 17 years old and attending St. Mary Academy-Bay View in Rhode Island.
She said the coach, who was 20 years older than her, pressured her into sex.
"It took a while for me to come to a place where I understood what the hell I had been through," McSally said in the interview. "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."
Jack Dwyer, McSally's former coach, denies the allegations.
"I believe she's nuts," Dwyer told The WSJ. "That girl is the most scheming woman I ever met."
McSally, a two-term congresswoman already backed by many GOP leaders in Arizona and Washington, has described herself as anything but an establishment candidate.
McSally, 52, enters a dynamic Republican primary field that features a nationally celebrated immigration hardliner, 85-year-old former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump last year after intentionally defying a judge's order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. The primary also includes former state Sen. Kelli Ward, an outspoken Trump advocate who was an early favorite of now-disgraced former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.