Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Joe Paterno

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

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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