Under the eyes of the law, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is a convicted child molester responsible for defacing the lives of countless young men who came through his ostensibly-charitable organization, The Second Mile. However, according to his wife, Dottie, the real victim in Sandusky's saga of sexual crimes is Sandusky himself. He is, says Mrs. Sandusky, the victim of a "media-created myth" which she claims was instigated by their adopted son, Matt Davidson, and which ultimately landed Jerry in prison.
Mrs. Sandusky's thoughts on the matter were published today in the Opinion section of PennLive as a piece headlined, "'Jerry is not a pedophile and ... he did not commit the horrible crimes': Dottie Sandusky". She was spurred to action after viewing the upcoming documentary Happy Valley, a film which, according to her, "purports to be the story of how my husband Jerry was protected from being found to be a supposed pedophile by the alleged football-crazed culture of State College." The documentary is scheduled for release on November 19.
Mrs. Sandusky came to PennLive to set the record straight on what she believes to be the truth of her husband's crimes, calling it her "moral responsibility" to do so: "I am aware that few people want to believe me and my other children when we say that Jerry is not a pedophile and that he did not commit the horrible crimes for which he was convicted (and given a virtual life sentence in prison)," she wrote.
Continuing on, Mrs. Sandusky placed blame on Matt Davidson's testimony against her husband for exacerbating for family's "nightmare":
When Matt suddenly decided in the middle of Jerry's trial to turn from being his most ardent defender to being an accuser, it was perhaps our worst moment in this entire nightmare.
But not because of the profound implications it would have on Jerry's defense.
Since Matt had sat next to me in the courtroom on the first day, this meant that Jerry effectively couldn't take the stand because then Matt could be called as a prosecution witness and surely at least one juror would make that toxic connection.
We had taken Matt into our home and out of a natural family climate he says was one of physical abuse. We legally adopted him when, after he asked us to do so, he turned 18.
To even think that Matt could make these horrific claims, which our whole family knew to be untrue, was simply heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, the movie "Happy Valley" presents a vastly different and highly misleading narrative about what happened.
They never tell you that Matt was adopted at 18 (well after he now says his abuse ended) and through the use of photos of Matt as a child and some bizarre conspiracy weaving from his attorney, the strong impression is left that we somehow used the courts to steal Matt from his natural mother so that Jerry could abuse him.
That is simply absurd.
However, she steers away from mentioning any of the other counts weighed against Jerry or the victims of his crimes, aside from dismissing them as ridiculous fictions:
Several times lawyer Andrew Shubin claims, without evidence or logic, that it was our town's love of football which allowed Jerry to go on abusing boys for so long before he was finally stopped.
How come no one ever considers that maybe it took so incredibly long to "stop" Jerry because there was no evidence any crimes had occurred because he simply wasn't committing any?
Do people really think that highly respected people like Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier (who didn't even really know Jerry) would put kids at grave risk to protect someone who was no longer even part of the football program?!
Of course, this isn't the first time Mrs. Sandusky has gone on record to clear her husband's name. Earlier in the year, she appeared on The Today Show with Matt Lauer for the sake of defending Jerry.
But stranger than Sandusky's willingness to endure public scorn for standing with her husband is PennLive's decision to publish this story. The publication noted at the top of Mrs. Sandusky's article that, "PennLive's community guidelines prohibit commenters from accusing Jerry Sandusky's victims of fabricating their experiences and testimony since he has been convicted in a court of law. However, we are publishing this piece by Dottie Sandusky because of its inherent news value."
So, despite the policies in place and any reservations they may have had, PennLive went ahead with the story anyway. Just so we're all clear, this is called "enabling", and it's something that has been happening a lot around Penn State lately, as the school and its fan base desperately cling to the vestiges of their old, now-tainted glory by slowly and conveniently forgetting the scandal, year by year. If Dottie Sandusky is looking for any "myth-making" in this entire process, then all she needs to do is find a mirror, look into it, and start talking.