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I don't know a lot about football, but I know a fair amount about abuse and abusers. Abusers take away the lives and innocence of their helpless victims and do it with no remorse. You cannot listen to this interview with Jerry Sandusky without knowing in the pit of your stomach that his answers do nothing but strengthen his victims' case against him.
Bob Costas did a great job of confronting Sandusky with the accusations brought forward in his accusers' Grand Jury testimony, but Sandusky didn't do an especially great job of defending himself. This is because there is no defense for the kind of allegations he faces. Honestly, there were points in this interview that made me ill, because Sandusky's responses were typical dodges.
Take, for example, his answer to the direct question about the incident in the shower with the 10-year old boy. Costas spared nothing, reading straight from the grand jury testimony, including the "rhythmic slapping" description. It was graphic and horrible. This is Sandusky's response:
"We were showering and horsing around and he [the boy] actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor and we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel," Sandusky said. McQueary's allegations were never reported to the police.
Mediaite has more:
In one of the more sickening parts of the interview, Sandusky gave his account of the event witnessed by assistant coach Mike McQueary, who says he saw Sandusky raping a 10 year-old boy in the shower at Penn State. Unable to explain why McQueary would lie about such a thing, Costas asked Sandusky what did happen when McQueary encountered him and the boy. Just in case anyone doubts the veracity of Sandusky’s version, he helpfully uses the term “actually” twice, just to underscore the actualness of what actually happened. Sandusky told Costas, “Okay. We were showering and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor and we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.”
The term "horsing around" is one with some pretty strong sexual connotations. While it's often used as a substitute for the term "horseplay", meaning rough-and-tumble behavior, it's also used as a euphemism for play with sexual connotations, due in part to the actual biology of horses and their sexual behavior. Sandusky uses it more than once, particularly when discussing his showers with those young boys. But to Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, it's all just "jock behavior."
Via Chicago Sun-Times:
“Jerry Sandusky is a big overgrown kid,” Amendola said. “He’s a jock, and for anybody who’s ever played sports, you get showers after you work out.”
To which I wonder if someone has told Amendola that "big overgrown kids" can behave quite inappropriately and abuse children, too.
Sandusky gave some really creepy responses to Costas' questions about the other witnesses; specifically Mike McQueary and the custodian who both testified to seeing Sandusky engaged in sexual behavior with children. In both cases, Sandusky flatly denied their allegations and when asked why they would lie about it, he responds with "You'll have to ask him." That's classic abuser behavior. Put it off on the witnesses, make them look like liars. I only hope people are smart enough to see through that.
There were two truly awful and creepy moments in this interview. The first was when Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, told Costas that he had located the alleged victim in the McQueary incident, and he would say the incident as related by McQueary never happened.
"We expect we're going to have a number of kids, now how many of those so called eight kids we're not sure, but we anticipate we're going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say this never happened. This is me, this is the allegation, it never occurred. In fact, one of the toughest allegations...what [Mike] McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child said that never happened," Amendola said.
Costas pressed on this, asking if they had located the alleged victim. Amendola's response was, "Yes, I believe we have." Amendola's insinuation that this victim would contradict McQueary was chilling indeed, given that it is not unusual for male victims of childhood sexual abuse to suffer such shame and pain that they choose to deny it outright. There is fear of reprisal, fear that they will be ridiculed, shame that they didn't say something at the time, and any number of other reasons. The insidious part of sexual abuse of this nature is that the abuser makes sure to offer his victim something to keep him indebted to him. In that light, Amendola's remarks seem almost menacing in nature.
Finally, the key moment of the interview comes when Costas asks Sandusky outright if he is sexually attracted to young boys. After buying himself some time by repeating and attempting to reframe the question, he launches into a monologue about how he loves children, but of course, not in a sexual manner.
Toward the end of the interview was a particularly telling exchange. Note the distance between Costas’ question, and Sandusky’s use of the word “no.”
Costas asked Sandusky, “Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?”
“Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?” Sandusky repeated, perhaps not hearing Costas.
After a too-long pause, Sandusky said, “Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.”
If I were a juror, I'd be writing a note about how empty that particular denial was. People repeat questions like that when they're stalling for an answer that makes sense but doesn't reveal the truth. Or when they're reaching for a lie. In Sandusky's case, he seems to have used his supply of lies in one 9-minute interview.
As a parent and as a human being, this story is about as ugly as it gets. Sexual abuse is an insidious and horrible crime against a child. It robs them of their whole self. It is an ugly, selfish act. Honestly, I was willing to reserve judgment on Sandusky (reluctantly), but this interview set off every single alarm bell I have. It was a portrait of a narcissist who has no shame when it comes to how far he will go to protect himself at the expense of children. Disgusting. Vile. I will smile when he's locked up for what's left of his pathetic little life.
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