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Jeff Herman Talks with ARNN on the Sandusky Interview and the Overarching Scandal

Male ARNN Interviewer: Jeff Herman’s an attorney specializing in child abuse cases. He joins us to talk a little bit about this case that would be coming up at Penn State. Mr. Herman, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

Jeff Herman: Sure.

Male ARNN Interviewer: You know, the question I guess in all of this…First of all let me ask you, did you happen to catch any of the interview with Jerry Sandusky that Bob Costas did the other night?

Herman: Yeah, I’ve seen the interview.

Male ARNN Interviewer: Alright. When you listen to what the answers are, do you get a sense of what kind of a person you’re dealing with?

Herman: Yeah, in my opinion based on my experience, this is sort of classic pedophile speak. You know, the kind of things that Sandusky was saying to sort of justify his behavior is what I typically hear from pedophiles. You know, when he says that he was merely horsing around. And to a pedophile they believe that they really love children. It’s just the way they love children is the way two adults would normally love each other. And so in his mind, he’s trying to convince everybody how much he loves kids. At the same time, he also wants to let the public know, which is why I think he went on in the first place, is all the good he’s done for other children. And this is how pedophiles kind of reconcile in their own minds what they… because they know on some intellectual level that they’re harming kids, but they also believe that they’re also helping kids.

Male ARNN Interviewer: I guess the question…When I was watching this I kept thinking, “Who gave him advice to do this interview?”, because he didn’t strike me as coming off very well.

Herman: It’s incredible to me that a lawyer would allow him to come on like that. I think he just really set himself up in a poor way for the criminal trial that’s upcoming.

Female ARNN Interviewer: So you have been contacted by several of his alleged victims. Did any of them hear that interview? And if so, what were their reactions?

Herman: Yeah, I can’t comment on the conversations I’ve had with people, but I will say that when a predator like Sandusky, who’s been accused here, of course, he hasn’t been convicted yet, when they get on and they make those denials, what that does for victims in a lot of cases is it inspires or incites them to come forward if they’d already been silent. When they hear these denials they feel, “You know what, that’s not true,” and they’re going to come forward. And so I think just based on Sandusky’s statement, he’s going to bring a lot more victims out to give evidence against him.

Male ARNN Interviewer: Yeah, you have to wonder, has this been going on longer than just what we know about?

Herman: I’m pretty sure it’s been going on for decades and decades, you know. And the problem that I see, unfortunately, is that when a predator is caught and they’re not charged, and they get away with it like we know happened according to a Grand Jury in ’98, it only emboldens them and they become more aggressive and start even abusing at a higher rate.

Female ARNN Interviewer: So legally speaking, what will become of the nonprofit that Sandusky formed supposedly to help underprivileged children? And does this sorta seem like it almost makes underprivileged children more vulnerable?

Herman: Well, they are more vulnerable. Anytime you have organizations dealing with children you have a vulnerable population. But when you’re dealing with kids who are in a program like “The Second Mile” who are coming from dysfunctional families or have different issues going on, they’re even more vulnerable, and this is why predators are going to seek places out like this, which is why they have to be more vigilant. So when there is a warning, when there is a complaint, you err on the side of caution, and they didn’t do that here.

Male ARNN Interviewer: Jeff, I want to make something clear here. These are charges that have been alleged to have happened against Jerry Sandusky. He has not been charged and convicted of anything except perhaps in the court of public opinion, but certainly not in a court of law. I’m curious, is this…The tentacles of this spreads a little bit more. You have an assistant coach who said, “I saw this. I didn’t do anything.” Now he’s saying he did do something. How much culpability does he have in all of this?

Herman: Well, I think from a civil standpoint that the defendants we’ll see in these cases will be Penn State University along with potentially the officials and Joe Paterno. I mean, the bottom line here is that it became clear, according to the Grand Jury report, that Sandusky was using the Penn State football program to groom his victims. And once they had that knowledge, Joe Paterno for all intents and purposes, was the Penn State football program. When he didn’t shut down Sandusky in 2002 after those allegations, then I think that makes him and the University and the other officials that knew culpable.

Female ARNN Interviewer: Right. It almost seems like he was this sort of untouchable god. There was just this sort of code of keeping things silent because of this whole mentality around the game and this sport and Sandusky himself. My question would be then, can we expect to see lots of lawsuits heading toward Penn State?

Herman: Well, I think that is what we’re going to see. I think now they’re kind of gearing up for that based on, certainly, I think their moves over the past couple of weeks. They realize now they’re not out in front of this and they’ve got some problems.

Male ARNN Interviewer: Jeff Herman, an attorney specializing in child abuse cases. Jeff, thank you for coming on. We’ll keep in touch. Appreciate it.

Herman: Sure, thank you.

Male ARNN Interviewer: Once again, these are things that are alleged against Jerry Sandusky, former Defensive Coordinator with Penn State who retired back in 1999. Has not been convicted in court, but perhaps in the court of public opinion, everybody forms their own ideas.