Saturday, July 19

What the Sandusky family statement doesn't say

The Sandusky family statement, through attorney Al Lindsey, doesn't say that Jerry Sandusky is innocent and reveals that Dottie Sandusky is in denial.

Ray Blehar

In response to Matt Sandusky's appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the Sandusky family released the following statement.

The family's statement that they never witnessed or heard of inappropriate behavior is a far cry from saying that Jerry Sandusky is innocent.  However, the fact is that the statement is untrue.

Dottie Sandusky admitted that Jerry told her exactly what happened in 1998 and, that when pressed by Matt Lauer, admitted that she would have considered it inappropriate if one of her children was hugged by an adult in the shower.

Lauer: One of the victims said he showered with him and hugged him. In the shower, while they were naked in the shower. Someone did that to one of your children and your children came home and told you that, wouldn't you think that's inappropriate?  That's hugely inappropriate.

Sandusky: I would. Yes, but.I would..I...I..I don't necessarily know that that happened. And maybe it did. Maybe Jerry said (trails off).

Next, while I can't speak for the rest of the family, Dottie is clearly in denial because she knew exactly what happened in 1998.  Her own words are below.

Lauer: Can you give me an example of something that he told you that he was truthful about that hurt? What were you referring to there?

Sandusky:  Gee that's hard to decide. To say. Of the...I can't really think of anything.  He told.. I guess..maybe it was the 98 incident.  He told me about that. He told me exactly what happened when that happened. 

However, I will agree that the statement "it is what we lived" reveals that at the time Sandusky's abuse was going on, the family was not likely aware of it.  Like the majority of people who knew Jerry Sandusky, they didn't believe he would be capable of such behaviors.  After the trial concluded, I suspect that some of the family realized that Jerry had committed crimes, although they may not fully believe all the victim's stories.

I agree with the final paragraph of the family statement.

There is no benefit to attacking Matt Sandusky because there is no way to disprove that he's a victim.  While many of the things Matt has said don't add up or make sense, even if someone was to somehow prove Matt was not abused, Sandusky remains guilty of many counts of child sexual abuse.  In addition, many Sandusky accusers/victims were never presented as witnesses at the trial.

Finally, I am in the same camp as many Penn Staters on the payment of victim settlements.  Matt Sandusky is not unique in that regard, as the University should not have paid anyone before its culpability had been established.  While it was explained that it was done for expediency and to avoid bad publicity, the fact is that bad publicity was going to continue as other lawsuits against PSU and the NCAA progress.

PSU has sued the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance Company because of its refusal to pay the settlements.  The policy in effect in 1992 and later excluded coverage for sexual abuse and molestation.  As a result, the $59.7 million in settlements was paid from University funds, according the PSU's 2013 financial statements.

At June 30, 2013, the University has accrued $59.7 million for 26 of 32 known claims, 24 of which have been settled subsequent to June 30, 2013. Such costs are included in institutional support within the consolidated statement of activities. Of the remaining six claims, two have been deemed to have no merit through the due diligence process. Without having knowledge of the number and nature of unknown claims and in view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of our remaining four known claims, each with their own unique circumstances that give rise to their alleged claims, and given the various stages of the proceedings, we are unable to predict the outcome of these matters or the ultimate legal and financial liability, and at this time cannot reasonably estimate the possible loss or range of loss. Accordingly, no amounts have been accrued in the 2013 financial statements for these claims although a loss is reasonably possible in future periods which could have a material adverse effect on our current and future financial position, results of operations and cash flows. 

In closing, Matt Sandusky's interview should be viewed as a reminder bad decisions made by the PSU Board of Trustees in agreeing to pay settlements.  By Matt's own admission, he was abused prior to anyone at PSU being informed about Sandusky's abuse.  It is truly puzzling why the PSU BOT would have entertained paying any abuse settlements for incidents prior to 2001, given that the University was told Sandusky did not commit any crimes in 1998.


  1. Not sure that attacking and scrutinizing Dottie Sandusky comments helps the initial goal of this site of exonerating Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultze.

    Sandusky likely committed criminal acts and has been convicted (despite only he said/he said evidence by witnesses with plenty to gain financially by lying). But the fat lady has sung, and he is not getting out.

    To accomplish the initial goal of this site, continue your thorough shredding of the media, the BoT, McQueary, the PA attorney general, and of course Freeh. Stay focused.

    1. Frank,
      Thanks for your comment.

      Perhaps the focus should be more on the "denial" and not so much on the person.

      Many people do not seem to understand that Sandusky's behavior was not only inappropriate, but it was criminal.

      Many people also seem confused about the difference between pedophilia and committing a sexual act. Pedophilia is simply the "attraction" to children. There need not be a sexual act against a child for someone to be a pedophile.

      Sandusky was a pedophile AND he committed sexual acts on children as a result of that attraction.

      Finally, I think it is very important to set the record straight about child sexual abuse/exploitation and its criminality. Touching of a child's private parts is indeed child sexual abuse. There need not be oral sex or sexual intercourse involved for it to be a crime.

  2. I doubt that the definitions of pedophilia and sexual criminal acts are being disputed by most people.

    Under any definition, Dottie Sandusky does not believe Jerry engaged in criminal activity. She may be in "denial" or she truly believes he is innocent.

    Either way, if you were to convince her today of Jerry's guilt, it would not help Spanier in his upcoming trial or repair the damage to the Paterno legacy.

  3. I agree with Frank, Ray. I hope that the efforts of notpsu can remain focused on making a case, IF it is true, that PSU did not knowingly enable Jerry Sandusky to sexually victimize kids.

    Besides, if he actually has not committed criminal acts against kids, PSU administrators would have a stronger case. And the PSU BoT and Louis Freeh a much weaker case.

    1. Becky,
      I only have two goals. Find the truth. Make sure PA's kids get the protection they deserve.

      If the truth is that some at PSU knew that Sandusky was molesting kids and covered it up, then so be it.

      Sandusky is guilty. That is not a matter for debate here.

    2. Hi Ray,

      Why is John Ziegler so unprofessionally calling you names on his site, "Framing"? I've always thought he was above such childish behavior. If anything, it paints him in a very bad light and makes him appear to be the one who is mentally imbalanced. I know this scandal is taking its toll on all of those that are trying to expose the lies from the PA state government and in the Freeh "report", but Ziegler sounds like a man that has finally cracked. And to not know how he comes off in his absurd piece, shows he either has no concept left of reality, or he had ulterior motives to begin with when he started his "crusade" to help Joe.

      I've always thought his stance expressed a certain naivety concerning the complicity of Tom Corbett and even Sandusky's actions. It's almost as if he's been trying to downplay their involvement. Overall, Ziegler appears to be making the whole scandal look like a big misunderstanding.

      Now that I've read his amazingly childish attempt to discredit you, I have no doubt his agenda has been to protect the actual guilty parties while appearing to be someone interested in finding the actual truth in this scandal. And he's made quite a bit of money in television appearances off of his ruse. And he's also come off as wildly emotional in his interviews. In my opinion, this has been intentional as a means to make so-called "Joe-bots" look blindly loyal.

      We all should have know better with his conservative leanings that he was protecting the immoral wealthy racketeers that have exploited the Pennsylvania children for decades.

      Keep up the good work Ray, and may God bless you and give you strength.

    3. Truthseeker,
      Thanks for voicing your opinion.

      I am sure we will eventually uncover the corruption that has led to child abuse and exploitation in Pennsylvania.

      Keep the faith.


    4. Ray, I have been a pretty loyal reader of this blog and your writings. I do believe your pursuit of working to fix the child protection system in Pennsylvania is a very noble and worthwhile cause that is desperately needed. However, it seems you are starting to grasp at straws by saying the 1998 incident of Sandusky hugging a boy in the shower is proof the Sandusky family is in denial. This was the only incident involving victim 6 that was brought up and considering Sandusky was accused by others and found guilty of orally and anally raping young boys within Sandusky's own house, the 1998 incident is a very minor incident that at the time was investigate by police and brought no charges.
      This letter is in response to very serious accusations by one of the Sandusky’s own family members about alleged abuse that occurred inside the Sandusky home. To use the 1998 incident as a means for discrediting this response letter is at best misguided and at worst dishonest. Sandusky is sitting in prison for the rest of his life mostly because he was accused of raping young boys, not really for hugging one in the shower. To say that because one happened, the others happened is not right.
      Nine years ago I was the foreman on the jury for a sex abuse case where a step-son was accusing his former stepfather of sexually abusing him. Without going into detail, the defense was able to prove the step-son was lying and we found the defendant not guilty. I have no regrets about that decision to this day and believe it was the right one. I mention this because there is ample evidence to support the notion that Sandusky did not receive a fair trial, this does not mean he’s definitely guilty or innocent. But too many people are afraid to mention this or bring this up in fear of being told they do not care about or support child abuse victims, which is absurd. Child abuse is a crime and should be prosecuted in a manner similar to someone accused of armed robbery or bank fraud. Accusers should have certain protections in place to hide their identity to keep them safe and give them more power to come forward to bring light on a very real problem in our society. But we should not do this with blinders to the rights and protections of the accused because it involves children. This is a two-way street to protect real victims of abuse and also protect innocent people from the false accusations of others.
      You mentioned in one of your replies that one of your goals is to find the truth, but then state that Sandusky is guilty and that matter is not for debate here. If you believe that, then you are not really for truth, but just for obtaining your other goal of making sure PA kids get the protection they deserve, no matter the cost. I find this sad because I really respect the work you’ve done here and believe deep down you know Sandusky was not treated fairly and possibly may even be innocent of a lot of these charges.

    5. Rums,
      Thanks for your comment, however, the family statement clearly says that they NEVER, repeat, NEVER heard anything INAPPROPRIATE about Jerry. That is clearly a false statement. If the Sandusky family wants to make a statement through a lawyer, which they are undoubtedly paying fees to, then the statement should be accurate. This one was not.

      Moreover, I found it truly astonishing that the family did not say Jerry was innocent The family is essentially hoping Jerry can get out of jail, even though he is guilty.

      Jerry's trial was not conducted fairly, however, I have no doubt he is guilty because of a lot of other evidence not presented at the trial. Once again, if the trial was conducted properly, we would have heard from 17 victims, not 8. If the investigation was conducted properly, we may have heard from dozens of victims.

      As I've said to many other people who have defended Sandusky and said he might be innocent: would you be okay with Jerry giving naked bear hugs to your child?

    6. Ray,

      Perhaps they didn't use the word innocent, because other people would then imply they are calling the accusers liars, which would then gin up the child abuse advocate groups to call them "liars and delusional" as you yourself are doing with this article.

      You are playing semantics with the word inappropriate to validate your point. They could be using inappropriate in a variety of contexts, but it still doesn't discredit the letter because of one incident in which the police didn't believe it was appropriate to bring charges.

      And to answer your question, no I would not be okay with Jerry or anyone giving naked bear hugs to my child, but I wouldn't want them in jail for it either. I would tell them to never do it again and if they did, then I'd never allow them to be alone with my child again.

      But let me ask you a question Ray, would you be okay with someone you allowed into your house accusing you of abusing or raping them 10 to 15 years after the fact without having to provide any type of physical evidence and then also changing their story, possibly multiple times, of where and when the alleged abuse/rape occurred? Would you want your life and livelihood on the line based on what someone said when they could benefit financially from accusing you? Wouldn't you want the right to be able to properly defend yourself in a court of law without your neighbors, coworkers, friends, community already thinking your a monster?

    7. Rums,
      Thanks for your response and your thoughtful arguments.

      The Sandusky family should know the case history better than most people and, that being the case, they also should know that Detective Schreffler believed Sandusky should have been charged in 1998 and that DPW's Jerry Lauro stated he would have made an abuse finding if he had seen Dr. Chambers report. In other words, if it weren't for the alleged bureaucratic bungling in 1998, Jerry would have been arrested.

      On point two, your solution seems to be that Jerry can't hug your kid, but it's okay for him to hug other kids. Okay...I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that his promise was to never do it again with anyone else. At a minimum, a child abuse finding should have been made in 1998 and Jerry should have lost his ChildLine clearance. He shouldn't have been allowed to be around any kids. However, where there is smoke there may be fire, and that 1998 case really needed to be investigated more thoroughly.

      Matt Sandusky's statements did not put Jerry Sandusky in jail. Sandusky had the opportunity to defend himself against abuse charges. While I agree with many that he didn't get a fair trial and that his lawyer didn't do a good job representing him, the fact of the matter was that if Matt Sandusky was not credible, that should have been made clear at the trial. It was Amendola's choice not put Jerry on the stand for fear of Matt being a rebuttal witness. Well, if Matt Sandusky was the lying liar that everyone says he was, what did Amendola have to fear? He should have relished the opportunity to cross-examine Matt and get everything out in the open that proves he was dishonest.

      In closing, I don't think we have gotten to the bottom of this yet and that the Sandusky verdicts may get tossed if prosecutorial misconduct or judicial misconduct is found.

      I think we can both agree that justice demands this case be re-tried. If that happens, everyone may get to see how Matt Sandusky holds up on the witness stand.

    8. If one feels that the JS trial was not conducted in a way as to produce a sound, just, and convincing verdict, then it seems the position on guilt, going forward, should be "neutral". What JS is guilty of, or not, short of being a blatant child rapist, shouldn't affect the efforts to find the truths of how PSU handled allegations against him. And how governmental and other entities in PA really fulfill their responsibilities to safeguard children.

      I don't see how taking a stand on JS's guilt helps these efforts. Particularly if your stance becomes the topic of discussion. The real focus should remain, I think, on how the Sandusky case became the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.