Former Germantown police chief says he was a victim of sexual assault; 'I didn't know what to do'

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GERMANTOWN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A former Germantown police chief is sharing his story with the community. He says he is a victim of sexual assault.

Peter Hoell tells CBS 58 he was 12 years old when he was sexually assaulted by a priest at Holy Name Catholic Church in Sheboygan.

"He fed us beer. We were young, 12 years old. We didn't have much experience with drinking, Hoell said. "We got intoxicated and that's when he would have physical contact with us, unwanted physical contact."

The encounters went on for two years, a couple times a month. Hoell was too afraid to tell anyone. 

"I didn't know what to do," said Hoell. "Afterwards I didn’t know what to say. He's a prominent member of the community. Would people believe me and my friends?" 

Years later, Hoell is filled with regret. 

"If I would have reported it, how many people would not have been victims?" Hoell said. "I regret not telling anybody. I regret not telling my parents. That's kind of what motivated me to write this Facebook post recently, so hopefully it will motivate people, if they are victims, to come forward." 

Hoell says his troubled past may have helped the people he served as a police officer.

"I tried to use my bad experience to make myself a better police officer. I think I could identify with victims that felt they were too afraid to report," Hoell said. 

In 1988, the priest -- whose name Hoell refuses to mention to this day -- was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.

"I was very happy this boy came forward," Hoell said. 

The priest was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but died after serving eight years behind bars.

"He died of cancer and this may sound very cold, but he deserved what he got. It probably wasn't a good way to die but he affected so many people's lives to this day," said Hoell. 

While Hoell regrets not speaking up in his youth, he encourages sexual assault survivors to come forward to get help and prevent others from becoming victims.

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