Jerry Sandusky was found guilty and sentenced to thirty to sixty years in prison for forty-five counts of sexual assault involving ten victims. Pennsylvania law dictates that he must serve the minimum sentence before being eligible for parole, meaning that Sandusky will be ninety-eight years old before he is eligible for parole. Unless he is placed in solitary confinement, I suspect he will die of less than natural causes long before his parole date.
Ever the sociopath, he continues to cast himself as the victim of a conspiracy and maintains his innocence. According to CBS News, in a radio interview Monday night Sandusky said:
“They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart,” he told the radio station. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage.”
In the last sentence he may well be telling the truth. He also is revealing a profound truth about the victims of sexual abuse perpetrators – they don’t have sex with their victims because their motivation is not sexual. Their actions are about exerting power and control over innocents, and genital contact is the means used to exert that power and control. To characterize such actions as “having sex” is roughly equivalent to characterizing murder by shotgun as skeet shooting.
Sandusky’s steadfast denial in the face of incontrovertible evidence reveals the problem with rapists – they often honestly believe they did nothing wrong, which is the biggest reason they have such a high recidivism rate. Were Jerry Sandusky to be released, he would set about finding more victims because he believes the things he did were not wrong. That’s not at all unusual.
Unfortunately, the actions of Penn State University in covering up Sandusky’s crimes are not at all unusual, either. It is difficult for most reasonable people to understand what would make ethical people put countless children at risk to prevent the embarrassment of going public when the problems first arose. No reasonable person would blame the administration of a University for the crime of one of its employees if they went to the authorities immediately. That didn’t happen, and so Penn State traded the lives of countless children and their reputation in an attempt to save face. I have no sympathy for Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, or anyone who was involved in the cover up.
The good news is that Sandusky will not have access to victims ever again. He may well begin to understand the depth of his crimes when he becomes the victim of similar “horseplay” in the prison showers. While there is nothing that can take away the pain, the suffering, and the damage this pervert visited on his victims, there may be some solace in the knowledge that it’s his turn now.