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Victim becomes author to warn others of educator sexual abuse

Andrea Clemens spends 8 years writing details of her once-dark secret

Andrea Clemens has turned 11 years of sexual abuse at the hands of her teacher into a book titled "Invisible Target."

The author from Florida recently visited San Antonio and sat down with KSAT 12.

Clemens said the relationship with her well-liked 9th-grade teacher began when she was 14 and living in Massachusetts.

"I was suicidal. I was desperate for a father figure. I just wanted to be seen. I felt very invisible," she said.

For two years, Clemens says the man "groomed" her.

"He spent hours listening to me, talking to me. Making me feel pretty, smart. And I didn't feel any of those things," Clemens said.

When she was 16, Clemens says her teacher professed his love for her and the sexual abuse began.

But for the years he spent building her up, he quickly began tearing her down -- even threatening her.

"I was terrified because he would say things like, 'I could bury you. I could take you down so easily,'" she said.

The sexual relationship with the teacher continued until she was 25 years old.

It only ended once she found a therapeutic group for sexual abuse survivors.

"That group was where I finally put together that he's not just a mean boyfriend, he was a predator -- (he was) my abuser," Clemens said. "And when I named it, I think I felt entitled to leave."

So she did.

But it wasn't until 10 years later that Clemens alerted her former school of what her teacher had done. Clemens says the man was still employed there.

Nothing came of her claims, she said.

Eight months later, she received a call from police telling her that her alleged abuser was being charged with the statutory rape of two 14-year-old girls.

"I have to live with that the rest of my life. What if I had gone forward sooner? Could I have prevented that? And that's what fuels me every day," she said.

Through her book, which has not yet been published, Clemens wants people to know the signs of educator sexual abuse -- signs she says people missed in her case.

She also has a message for survivors: "This isn't my shame. It's not my secret, it's his. And it makes it a lot easier if you can release that shame. Anything is possible."

Clemens is an activist and speaker who works to spread awareness of educator sexual abuse. For more information, visit www.andreaspeaksout.com.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.

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