LOS ANGELES, March 8 (UPI) -- "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher revealed in a Vanity Fair interview that she was sexually abused by an uncle starting when she was 5 years old.
Hatcher, 41, said her parents never knew about the abuse by the uncle, which lasted three or four years, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
She recalled going "ballistic" when her aunt and uncle were invited to dinner when she was about 8 and said her mother -- although she never asked why -- "removed" her from the situation and she never saw the couple again.
Hatcher told Vanity Fair she told her mother what happened in 2002 after learning the uncle had been arrested for sexually assaulting a neighbor girl who killed herself as a result of his abuse.
After finding out the case against the man had been stalled by a lack of evidence, Hatcher contacted authorities and reported her own abuse. The uncle pleaded guilty to four counts of molestation and is serving a 14-year prison sentence.
"Without Teri, this case would have been dismissed," Santa Clara County Prosecutor Chuck Gillingham told Vanity Fair. "But she volunteered to talk about the most heinous thing that could happen to a child, with no upside for her ... She is a damn good person."