Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Jerry Sandusky Pedophilia Trial Ends: Guilty on 45 Counts (UPDATED)

with 7 comments

Folks, I’m not sure how I feel about the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Yes, it surely appears that Sandusky was and is a pedophile. Yes, the jury had to listen to extremely difficult and distressing testimony from several young men, all of whom seem to have been badly betrayed by Sandusky. And yes, it appears the jury has done its job thoroughly, convicting Sandusky on 45 of the 48 counts against him.**

However, Sandusky’s lead defense attorney, Joseph Amendola, raised serious questions during the trial.  Amendola contended that the police attempted to make more out of the young men’s stories than was actually present, which is a seriously upsetting charge if true.  Amendola wondered what the financial motivation was of all of these young men’s various lawyers — some of whom were not from the area — which seems like a valid point to make.  And finally, Amendola claimed that Sandusky was wrongly accused — this latter obviously not having been proven in a court of law — and that perhaps Sandusky, due to the high amount of negative publicity in this case, could not get a fair trial no matter what he did.

All of this disturbs me.

But what also disturbs me is the fact that one of Sandusky’s adopted children has come forward with a claim that Sandusky, 68, also abused him.  The prosecution in Sandusky’s case did not bring Sandusky’s son to the stand, perhaps because they felt they had more than enough evidence to convict Sandusky of pedophilia as it was.  (Something that assuredly proved to be the case.)  This makes me wonder if Sandusky’s adopted son had come forward much sooner if any of the other crimes Sandusky is accused of committing — that as of this hour he’s been convicted of actually doing (though my hunch is that Sandusky will appeal) — would ever have happened.

All of that said, the enormity of what Sandusky has now been convicted of doing is so disgusting that it’s hard for me to contemplate.  Due to Sandusky’s own actions — his sickening, shocking, and outright wrong actions — at least ten young men have been grievously harmed.  I feel terrible for these known victims of Sandusky’s sexual abuse and wish they’d never have had to endure any of it.

I also feel terrible for Sandusky’s son.  If he, too, was abused by Sandusky and nothing was done about it, that’s so wrong that it makes my blood boil.

But I also feel terrible, oddly enough, for Sandusky himself, because usually, pedophiles aren’t born.  They are made, often due to the same sexual abuse they later perpetrate against others.

This, of course, does not excuse Sandusky.  He had the option to go for psychological help at any time.  He also could’ve turned himself in to the police if he couldn’t control himself.  And goodness knows, with this sort of problem he never, ever should’ve been around children.

That said, in this scenario, there are no winners.  In addition to the ten known victims, Penn State has lost.  Joe Paterno died in disgrace, something he may well have not deserved as it surely appears he tried hard to get Sandusky off his coaching staff once he realized what was going on.  Sandusky’s wife Dottie, who appeared clueless throughout most of the trial, has surely lost greatly, though it’s puzzling to understand why she didn’t seem to see any problems with regards to her husband.  Sandusky’s children have lost.  And Sandusky himself has also lost.

I wish I had something more profound to say, but words escape me at a time like this. 

I suppose the best lessons of the Jerry Sandusky trial should be these: if someone is sexually abusing you, no matter what his rank and wealth may be, please do your best to get help for yourself.  Then report him (or her) to the authorities after you’ve gotten help.  (And do keep a copy of THE COURAGE TO HEAL workbook nearby.  Read it often.  Learn that it’s not your fault that this happened.  And keep repeating it to yourself, over and over, as it may well help and certainly can’t hurt.)


**Edited to add — please see Dan Wetzel’s story at Yahoo Sports for further details, including how the local people reacted to the verdict, what the courtroom was like as the verdicts were handed down, and how Mrs. Sandusky handled it all.

The fact of the matter is, as Wetzel rightly points out, Sandusky’s victims were heroes for coming forward.  It’s tough to “out” yourself as a victim of sexual abuse, particularly if you’re a young man who’s been abused by an older man in a position of trust.  It’s a good thing these young men stayed the course, even though it seemed to me from the testimony that some of the victims seemed far more credible than others (as defense attorney Amendola said). 

I hope that if I’d have been outside that courtroom, I’d not have cheered for Sandusky going to jail for the rest of his life.  Instead, I hope I’d have prayed for him — unrepentant sinner though he is — because as I said before, pedophiles are usually not born.  They are made.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Well, I’m not so sure about certain things…

    Pedophilia falls into a similar category as say, depression. It’s not necessarily a genetic marker to pass it to the next generation, but, certain bloodlines may be more prone to one or the other.

    Pedophilia is defined as an adult’s natural sexual attraction to children. Because there could be a parent or grandparent who is also a pedophile, it is greatly possible that Sandusky could have been a child sex abuse victim himself, but, because there may not have been a pedophile, it’s possible that he may just be a pedophile, because he is sexually attracted to children. Pedophilia can happen with or without previous sex abuse of the perpetrator.

    Those without the natural attraction, on the other hand, would fall under child molester, because it’s not about the sexual attraction, it’s about the fact that this person has been a victim (and while most likely sex abuse, could be ANY abuse), and hasn’t gotten past certain issues, and the more it gets bottled up, the more resentful, and thus feels the need to share the misery. They may be great at the pretend normal outside of causing abuse.

    As for police officers making more of the stories than what were there… Just remember, all law enforcement are peace officers. Victims are NOT the ones who broke the peace, and I find that it is refreshing that for once, we’re playing UP the trauma of our sex abuse survivors, rather than playing them down in favor of the perpetrator’s reputation at hand…

    When at least 10 former victims come up, no matter how strong their testimony, I have to wonder, how many victims didn’t, or worse yet, COULDN’T come forward because it is all that much more traumatizing for those who aren’t ready to speak up yet? Those who came forward and testified are now survivors, not victims. I hope the day comes that they are more than survivors, but thrivers.

    Just remember, the average pedophile and/or child molester sexually assaults on average 250 or so children. Please check out the websites for RAINN and the Department of Justice for more info…

    And then, as for the applause after the ruling, I don’t see it as a cheer for the fact that Sandusky lost and will be locked up for life, but more like the fact that it is a celebration for the fact that the victims have won, thus protecting future victims that this man potentially could have terrorized.


    June 24, 2012 at 3:18 am

    • Lika, one of my FB buddies told me that she thought the cheer was a simple release of emotion, equivalent to “Hallelujah!” rather than cheering, _per se_. I’d like to believe that’s true, or that your take on it is true . . . probably both of your takes are true _and_ the more primitive, “Stick it to ’em!” response is what’s going on there, though.

      All that said, notice I said in my updated blog that there were ten _known_ victims. There undoubtedly were many more. One of Sandusky’s own adopted sons claims now that he, too, was a victim . . . it’s possible many, many people were hurt by this man.

      I’m glad he’s going to jail for the rest of his life (Jerry Sandusky). I hope this will give the victims some comfort. But it’s wrong that it took this long for Sandusky to finally be charged with something, considering that at least five times before (from Yahoo sports columnist Dan Wetzel’s count), someone tried to do something about this and it got brushed aside. (Many more victims got hurt that way, so that was very bad policy.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

  2. The words pedophile and child molester are used interchangeably and that is a problem. A pedophile is attracted sexually to children. A child molester is a pedophile who crosses the line and acts on his or her impulses. One is a criminal and one is not.

    Society’s experts claim there is no known cause for pedophilia and thus there can be no cure. James Cantor, University of Toronto, Canada, is an expert in this area and believes brain scans are shedding light on the disease. Read his work on CNN.

    For a great overview of scientists’ examination and a thorough research of the past thirty years, read Pedophilia: A Cause and. A Cure.

    This is an autobiography of a 71 year old pedophile who reveals his deepest secrets. He also offers a detailed look at how our justice system is using a bandaid instead of a vacine with its sex registration laws.

    The Penn State tragedy is only the tip of the iceberg. Until society looks for the cause it will continue to have its children’s lives destroyed.

    Steve A. Mizera

    June 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

    • Steve, I understand the difference between “child molester” and “pedophile.” It seemed to me in this particular case that Jerry Sandusky was both; he certainly “groomed” his victims, he was canny about what he did (as disgusting as I find his actions to be), and he definitely seems unrepentent.

      My best guess is that he’s probably closer to a child molester than a pedophile, but as you have said in your reply, very few child molesters talk about it.

      Writing a quick headline, though, stumped me in this case because it seems to me after watching Sandusky with Bob Costas (that interview) that Sandusky really had no concept of what he’d done wrong, which is closer to a pedophile’s attitude prior to him (or her) realizing it. That’s why I leaned on the word “pedophile” so much rather than say “sexual assault trial of 10 minor boys” or the like.

      Since you said this is “the tip of the iceberg,” what do you suggest society as a whole should do to make it easier to spot behavior such as Sandusky’s earlier, so fewer lives will be harmed? (Or in this case, if you’ve read Dan Wetzel’s article — I linked to it in my blog — Wetzel pointed out that not one, not two, but _five separate people_ including one policeman tried to stop the abuse. Nothing was done. And that doesn’t even begin to include Sandusky’s adopted son Matt.)

      Mind, I’d like to say “so _zero_ lives will be harmed.” Eventually, with enough hard work and effort by advocates such as my friend Lika (who’s formed the Youth Voice Initiative and is lobbying the Wisconsin Legislature for passage of “April’s Law,” something I’ve discussed elsewhere on this blog — I’m very much in favor of what Lika’s doing), maybe that wonderful day will come.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 26, 2012 at 1:06 am

    • Steve, you fail to mention that you are the pedophile in your book “Pedophilia: A Cause and A Cure.”

      Unfortunately, there wasn’t much help for your victim as I tried to pick up the pieces of my life. After months of sexual abuse and manipulation and two years of fighting to put you behind bars, I find it offensive that you are hawking a book to make a profit off of your crime. This is simply another manner of exploitation.

      Daniel Freysinger

      August 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      • Daniel, I didn’t look Steve or his book up before allowing his comment. But I am sorry with regards to all you have endured. I have sympathy, which is why I looked at your comment again (which I initially was not going to allow), and allowed it.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm

  3. I yell you this with the sincerity of the world: No man is innocent, innocence is reserved for no one. Man is prone to sin, through desperation, lack of control, or out of spite. We have all grown damaged by one another. Some pains, some misplaced trust, are larger than others. It is, however, our duty to forgive one another. All wounds heal, but it is your choice whether to accept the scars that they leave or to be controlled by their evil.

    With faith and love,
    Gabriel Peur

    Gabriel Peur

    January 1, 2015 at 7:16 pm

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