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Stars Help Fund New Program For Sexually Abused Children

February 14, 1985

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ A new program to help sexually abused children has been added to a hospital’s rape treatment center, thanks to a $60,000 grant from a group of celebrities, actress Valerie Harper said Wednesday.

The counseling and diagnostic program was funded by $60,000 from SHARE, a group of celebrities and their spouses who raise money for developmentally disabled children, Ms. Harper said.

The actress serves as a board member of the rape treatment center at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center, which over a decade has provided free medical, legal and counseling services for some 6,000 rape victims.

″None of us want to know about the abuse of a child,″ Ms. Harper said. ″But it behooves us to uncover and confront it - to confront this very horrible reality.″

A spokeswoman for the new counseling program, Cathy Dobrey, said SHARE is contributing to it ″because they recognize the potentially long-term disabling impact of child sexual abuse on its victims.″

SHARE members, including Marianne Rogers, wife of singer Kenny Rogers, and Ruth Berle, wife of comedian Milton Berle, turned out for a check presentation ceremony at the center Wednesday.

Young victims of sexual abuse can receive free diagnosis and counseling services at the new SHARE Playroom, Ms. Harper said.

Spokeswoman Marybeth Roden said art and play therapy are used to treat children, instead of traditional counseling.

Although the center has aided abused children in the past, the new program helps expand the range of services and the number of children who can be helped, Ms. Roden said.

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