In 2012 serial sexual predator football Coach of Pennsylvania Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 accounts of child sexual abuse. Most of the victims said during the trial they met Sandusky through the Second Mile camp, a camp founded by Jerry Sandusky designed to nurture underprivileged kids and at-risk youths.
Oprah digs into Matthew Sandusky and his life as Jerry Sandusky’s adopted son
“I thought people envied me. I was he ‘lucky’ son of a legendary football coach. There were grown men; strangers he didn’t even know patting him on the back after football games, ‘good job or way to go.’ I felt special; he made me feel special to be chosen by him to be adopted.” Matthew told Oprah. ”You were the son chosen to do these things with me, he would say.”
Oprah, “The Sandusky name was a golden ticket in this town, he was your hero. What were the initial visits like”
“Yes exactly, He was everyone’s hero and I felt it was a privilege to be at his side to do all of these things, he groomed me to feel that way anyway. My life was privileged and like any other kid who had that kind of a wealthy father. It was at night the bedtime ritual got weird. The overnight visits were good, any other time with the family was good. I wished I had brothers and sisters and a mother to cook for me.”
“Oprah Do you believe he chose you for a reason”
“I believe he had picked me out, out of hundreds of children.”
Oprah, “In reality the ones to watch out for are those closest to you. They groom you, and lie to you. It’s not the boogey man, the man in the weird rain coat”
“The manipulation, the grooming started out right when he met me at 7 or 8. He would reach over on your knee while he was driving. Where I come from you didn’t hug or even touch each other, it was weird but I thought maybe this is what I was lacking. Each time over a long time, I was nine; very slowly it was more and went further.”
Oprah, “When you are young you don’t have the language for what is happening to you”
“Exactly you know it doesn’t feel right but you don’t have words for it. As the grooming process goes he hand would move farther up my leg, it was awkward it felt so different from any thing I ever had done before. I didn’t know what it was for. You don’t know what you feel. He grabs your genitals as he throws you and plays with you. Then I would come over and play racquetball with him and you had to take a shower. Wrestling on you and putting you into positions and laying on you, Lifting up your shirt and blowing on your stomach and he would be aroused.”
Oprah, “So as a child you were willing to make that compromise to have that dad”
“Yes I came from a very broken home. The only thing I knew at 12 is that he must be gay and I didn’t want it. I wanted him to get off of me. At 16 I moved in to avoid what he told me could happen to me military school or be arrested and other things he told me would happen to me if he didn’t adopt me, and I was scared of those things happening to me. I had been arrested earlier in my life and I didn’t want that again.”
Oprah, “At 17 you tried to commit suicide, did he stop then”
Matthew Sandusky speaks vey openly about the trauma of child sexual abuse and what it led him to. “Yes it stopped, the really sexual abuse stopped for a little while. But the grooming didn’t stop the hand on the legs, the pulling off into another room to talk to me. He always told me the police were talking to him about me but that he was handling it. It kept me scared all the time, it was gross ongoing manipulation. He wanted to keep in close touch with me, reinforcing he was in control, to make sure I wasn’t talking to anybody about what was happening to me especially because I had tried to commit suicide.”
Oprah, “Why do you think it took so long for the case to be brought against him. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania said in a 339-page report, that there were many times and mishandling of information”
“He was a mass manipulator. He had this reputation in the community. No one wanted to even think he was capable of doing such a thing. He used this to manipulate his victims too. No one could wrap there head around this football hero and what he stood for doing something so corrupt and going against a child or children like that,” Matthew spoke bravely.
As a parent you have to be in touch with your children. Any one at any time can cross that boundary with your child. We spend a lot of time talking with our children to be aware of the “stranger.” But how do you explain to a child who may already have been on goingly exposed and groomed by a predator not to tell or else. A predator who knows your child and the family knows exactly what to say to scare and keep the child in his line of terror. It could be going on now. Would you know?
A predator has to cover all of his or her bases. The reputation is important and “reasonable doubt” cannot be a possibility or their cover could be blown. It is at the loss of the child, for when they come forward to finally tell someone about what is happening to them and they are not believed.
“When did you decide you would speak up,” Oprah
“I went into the bathroom when the stories of the boys started coming out and looked in the mirror. If you keep your mouth shut are you protecting him? Are you going to tell them you were sexually abused as a child? I’m married and I have children now. I thought it would be better for them to tell. My wife is innocent, my children are innocent.”
“Oprah, You’ve been attacked by his supporters”
“I didn’t want to be the coward any more. I was afraid of that man!”
“Victim number four was in the shower with Sandusky, you were nervous”
“I was older at that time. I knew what his ritual was and the soap fight in the shower was how it started. But I thought I was the only one. I didn’t think he was doing it with others but I get scared because the “scare” all comes back to me of being held back by him in the shower to be ‘talked’ to.”
“The probation officer says in a report after the suicide attempt that he questions your safety and what is going on in the Sandusky home. But nobody does anything about it. Another chance goes by”
“The probation officer said I was showing all of the signs of being sexually abused. I was telling people the best way I knew how. I was acting out, I tried to kill myself.”
“Do you think he was in love with you”
“I think he did yes, that was him taking care of us him being there for us when no one else did. I believe his did. As a pedophile he didn’t see it like stepping over the line, he thought it was how to show love.”
“What was going on inside the home as the news started breaking and the stories were coming out?”
“The family would rally together for him. That’s what we always did. It was ‘us’ against ‘them’ we were always told. They are after money he told us.”
“What did you think when you knew that there were other people”
“It was very confusing. My child self-kept it hidden from my adult self. They were telling my story. It was so confusing.”
You try to bury the awful hurt and truth and trauma as a victim. You couldn’t make it and be in life and have a normal life, if you kept it on the front burner of your life as witness and first-hand knowledge of what happened to you. It didn’t just happen once, it goes on for a few years or it’s your lifetime until your grow up and become an adult.
“There are people who say you did it for the money”
“I didn’t know there were payments from Pennsylvania at first. My story has been well documented. It’s in the records it’s there. People talked to each other, people thought they walked in on things and so on, it’s all there. There is no reason to lie. I’m coming forward to help.”
A summary of findings written by FBI Profiler and internationally recognized expert on child sexual abuse crimes on the Sandusky case, Jim Clemente, “Jerry Sandusky is a ‘cunning and deliberate child sex offender, and a fraud of the highest order.’ Sandusky presented himself as an child advocate, philanthropist, and as an altruist community icon. In fact, he was none of those. This country has seen many a ‘pillar of the community,’ and ‘nice guy’ child sexual offenders, few of them are as bold as to create a foundation for troubled children.”
“This case is a textbook example of how the general public misinterprets the behavior of child sex offenders. He effectively ‘groomed’ those people he came in contact with the child care experts, psychologists, professionals, athletes, celebrities, family, friends and coaches. The sad truth is people don’t recognize the ‘grooming behavior’ of the ‘nice guy’ acquaintance offenders, especially when they know or are close to that person.”
“These kind of grooming behaviors are obstacles in identifying the pedophile”
“In order to stop child sexual molesters, we need to understand how the grooming behaviors work, and the counter-intuitive dynamics child sexual victimization.”
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