They are five Julliard-trained musicians and siblings who wow audiences with synchronized classical piano performances. But in Provo, Utah, Thursday, The 5 Browns revealed a long-held and disturbing family secret.
55-year-old Keith Brown, the family patriarch, pleaded guilty to three counts of sodomy of a child and child sexual abuse.
A spokesman for The 5 Browns says in a statement that daughters Desirae, Deondra and Melody are the victims in the case. Each is now a married adult and each approved the plea agreement and public disclosure of their identities as victims.
News of the abuse charges followed a bizarre Valentine's Day car crash on a twisting canyon highway outside Salt Lake City. Keith Brown and his wife Lisa were seriously injured when their Porsche flew 300 feet off the road and down into a frigid creek.
Despite his injuries, Keith Brown appeared in court to accept a plea agreement that includes a prison sentence of at least ten years.
Court documents say the abuse occurred between November 1990 and October 1992 and again between March 1997 and 1998. Two of the Brown sisters were under 14 when they were victimized.
The Salt Lake Tribune quotes an unnamed family source saying the sisters called police after learning that their father planned to manage other child musicians. Brown managed his children's career until 2008, the Tribune reports.
In their native Utah a few years ago, The 5 Browns began a concert with bowed heads, folded arms and a Mormon prayer. The group is celebrated by Mormons and performed during a birthday celebration for Gordon B. Hinckley, the late Mormon president and prophet, in 2005.
The 5 Browns were also profiled on the CBS News program 60 Minutes and featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
The group's spokesman says scheduled concert appearances will continue as planned.