Photo: Jim Rogash (Getty)

The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team just published the first part of a six-part series on the life of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide last spring in a Massachusetts prison. It’s a heartbreaking story that digs deeper into the foundational early years of Hernandez’s short, painful life, which were marked by abuse in many forms.

Hernandez’s brother Jonathan told the Globe that their father Dennis would routinely beat them. The Hernandez brothers “were often beaten and brutalized” and they lived in terror from a young age. Jonathan once threatened to call the police on Dennis, and he was intimidated out of it:

“I picked up the phone once to call, to seek help,” the brother said in his first interview on the subject. “And his response was, ‘Call them.’ And he handed me the phone, and he said, ‘I’m going to beat you even harder, you and your brother, and they’re going to have to pull me off of you when they knock down the door.’”

Jonathan also told the Globe that Aaron had been sexually abused as a young child. He learned of the abuse when he and his brother were both adults, and declined to tell the paper more about the incident. One of Hernandez’s lawyers also mentioned that Aaron had suffered childhood sexual abuse, though he also didn’t declined to discuss the particulars.

The whole story is well worth your time, and it also includes details on the relationship between Hernandez and his high school quarterback.

[Boston Globe]