By Carole Mikita and Sam Penrod and staff.
SALT LAKE CITY — Their father is likely headed to prison on child sex abuse charges. Their mother is recovering from serious injuries suffered when the car she was riding in with her husband plunged down a 500-foot cliff earlier this week.
But Desirae, Deondra and Melody Brown of The 5 Browns piano quintet aren't saying much about their parents.
The sisters are praying for a full and speedy recovery for their mother. They do not wish to comment about their parents other than that.
–Kimball Thomson, spokesman
"The sisters are praying for a full and speedy recovery for their mother," spokesman Kimball Thomson said. "They do not wish to comment about their parents other than that. The time is not right to talk about their relationship with their parents.”
It has been a tumultuous week for the the sisters and their two brothers. Instead of upbeat publicity about the group's unique sound and relationship, the news has been about their father pleading guilty to sexually abusing his daughters while they were children.
Keith Brown, 55, pleaded guilty Thursday to sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony. He will be sentenced March 31 at 10 a.m. Prosecutors will recommend that he spend 10 years to life in prison.
Keith Brown's attorney said his client first confessed the abuse to his LDS bishop.
Thomson said the sisters cannot comment about when, where and how their father went to his ecclesiastical leader to confess, but they say they are the ones to bring the allegations to the attention of the police and prosecutor.
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"They came forward because they heard their father might be working with or come into contact with other young women and girls" as clients or music students, Thompson said Friday.
That's not an uncommon motive, according to Jonathan Sherman, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
"Perpetration usually doesn't stop, it just transfers to another new victim; and so (the victim) might be worried about someone else getting abused," he said. "(They) say, ‘I don't want to bring it up for my own sake, but I want to bring it up for someone else's sake.'"
The Juilliard School graduates became recording artists and performed international concert tours but ended their professional relationship with their father, their manager, in October 2008.
On Monday night, Keith Brown and his wife, Lisa, were driving down Little Cottonwood Canyon when the Porche he was driving went off the road and into the creek 500 feet below. It took hours for emergency workers to locate and rescue the couple.
"This has been a long painful process," Thomson said. "But the three sisters are making tremendous progress in healing.
It happened, and the physical acts may be over but the abuse goes on and on as long as it is held secret and private within ourselves. It just continues to fester and canker and spread like a disease throughout the emotional and mental part of our bodies.
–Jonathan Sherman, therapist
They may never elaborate on some aspects of the abuse, but Thomson said the sisters have referred to themselves as "survivors" not "victims" and that in coming forward, they feel they made a strong statement in taking back their lives in their own time and on their own terms.
"Throughout this process, they have had the idea that what others do to them is not going to define them," Thomson said. "They will define themselves through their thoughts, feelings and choices."
In past interviews, the famous siblings would say, "we have each other." That hasn't changed in the past week's developments.
"They have been able to draw upon a deep reservoir of support from their two brothers, their spouses, their music and their faith," a statement issued Thursday said. "Faith has permeated all thoughts, feelings and relationships and brought them tremendous healing power, comfort and joy."
While few victims ever come forward in such a public way like The 5 Browns have this week, Sherman said he believes their story will help others — especially those who have struggled for years to find the courage to report the abuse and seek help.
"It happened, and the physical acts may be over but the abuse goes on and on as long as it is held secret and private within ourselves," Sherman said. "It just continues to fester and canker and spread like a disease throughout the emotional and mental part of our bodies."
The 5 Browns have upcoming concerts next Friday and Saturday in Colorado and then on Feb. 28 in Logan. They say they will perform but will not speak about what has happened.