The evening before his sentencing, Jerry Sandusky released a recorded statement in which he proclaimed his innocence and blamed his accusers and others for his conviction.
The former Penn State coach, who was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, was sentenced today to 30-60 years in prison.
Sandusky’s decision to maintain his innocence and to appeal his conviction is between him and his attorneys.
His decision to denounce his accusers and question their credibility, however, is deeply disturbing.
In his statement, Sandusky attempted to delegitimize his accusers by bringing up the troubled childhood circumstances that brought many of them to the Second Mile.
“Evaluate the accusers and their families,” Sandusky said, “Please realize all came to the Second Mile because of issues. Some of those may remain.”
Perhaps even more offensive was Sandusky’s implication that the alleged victims came forward with accusations because it was “easy”.
“Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention, and potential perks,” Sandusky said.
Sadly, this type of rhetoric is used too often by sexual predators and the institutions that protect them.
The truth is that it is never easy for a victim of sexual abuse to come forward.
But when a brave survivor decides to break their silence by sharing their story, many other victims often find their own courage through a collective empowerment.
The victims in this case may never receive an apology from Sandusky, but I sincerely hope that through this ordeal they are able to begin the healing process.