Details about former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s family life come to light amid the child sex abuse scandal which continues to grow.
Amid Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, Tom Corbett, governor of Pennsylvania, is adding fuel to the fire, speculating Sunday that more victims will be added to the list of eight boys who were allegedly sexually violated by Sandusky.
When he retired from his defensive coaching position at Penn State, Jerry Sandusky cited his need to more family time and dedication to his charity The Second Mile, which helped underprivileged children who were living in foster homes.
Jerry Sandusky and his wife Dorothy raised six children, all of whom were adopted, and one of whom, Matt, tried to kill himself shortly after moving in with the Sanduskys.
The first recorded time that Jerry Sandusky’s behavior was called into question dates back to his son Matt’s suicide attempt in 1995.
Matt Sandusky, now 32, came into the coach home through The Second Mile, after having a troubled childhood.
Even after getting involved with the charity, Matt Sandusky ran into legal trouble at the age of 16 when he burned down a barn and was taken in as a foster child by the coach and his wife for two years before being legally adopted by the couple.
Shortly after he moved into the house, however, Matt Sandusky tried to kill himself, prompting some raised alarms.
His probation officer became concerned about his well being and wrote letters to a judge saying that she was concerned about Matt Sandusky’ “safety and his current progress”.
The probation officer, Terry Trude, said that she had spoken with Matt Sandusky’s biological mother Debra Long who was also worried about the boy, hoping that his living situation would be reviewed by the court.
Local Pennsylvania newspaper The Patriot-News released the court records of Matt Sandusky’s adoption, including a letter that he wrote to the court imploring the judge to allow him to stay with the family.
“I would like to be placed back with the Sanduskys. I feel that they have supported me even when I have messed up. They are a loving caring group of people. I love both my biological family and the Sandusky family,” he wrote at the time.
Matt Sandusky has been unflinching in his support of the family, singing their praises to a Sports Illustrated reporter when Jerry Sandusky left Penn State in 1999.
“My life changed when I came to live here,” says Matt Sandusky.
“There were rules, there was discipline, there was caring. Dad put me on a workout program. He gave me someone to talk to, a father figure I never had. I have no idea where I’d be without him and Mom. I don’t even want to think about it. And they’ve helped so many kids besides me,” he continued.
Matt Sandusky is still extremely close with his family, and that hasn’t seemed to change since the news of the scandal, much to his ex-wife’s chagrin.
Matt Sandusky’s ex-wife Jill Jones is fearful for the couple’s three children in light of the allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse, and got a court order to prevent their two daughters and one son from spending any alone time with their grandfather.
The order was issued during the week of the scandal, but that didn’t stop Matt Sandusky from bringing his daughters, aged 9 and 7 years old, and their 5 year old son from visiting the alleged pedophile.
Court records show that Matt Sandusky took the three children to visit their grandparents on November 5, the day that the charges were announced.
In an effort to lessen her concern, Jerry Sandusky’s wife Dorothy called her former daughter in law to tell her that the children would be safe in the house. The call didn’t change Jill Jones’ mind, however, and she still asked for the court order, which prevents the children from staying overnight in their grandparent’s house.
There is no evidence to believe that Jerry Sandusky ever abused his grandchildren, but the documents say that there is a “fundamental disagreement over the validity of the charges against Jerry Sandusky and the risk he poses to children”.
The case continues to gain momentum as speculation grows that there will be more names added to the list of eight victims.
Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett said Sunday that in addition to the illegal acts of Jerry Sandusky, coaches Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary were guilty of not fulfilling their moral obligation.
“When the word gets out, when people understand that authorities are actually doing something about this, that they may be believed, then more people come forward,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.
“As governor, I have a requirement to make sure that we protect the children of Pennsylvania,” Tom Corbett continued.
“In my opinion, when you don’t follow through, when you don’t continue on to make sure that actions are taken, then I lose confidence in your ability to lead. That would be the case here.”
“I’ve always have said, your actions speak louder than your words. That should not have been able to continue. The actions or the failure to act while maybe not criminal, caused me not to have confidence in the president and in the coach.”