Thursday, November 10, 2011
On Tuesday morning, the tide of momentum against the Penn State football program and head coach Joe Paterno became even more overwhelming. A ninth alleged sexual assault victim of former coach Jerry Sandusky has reportedly come forward. A press conference scheduled for 12:20 ET was canceled as a report surfaced in the New York Times about plans for Paterno's exit. And most importantly, an exclusive story in the Patriot-News gave voice to two mothers of alleged victims.
Their stories are specific, extensive, and chilling. And both mothers accuse Penn State officials of doing too little to prevent tragedy.
"I'm so upset," the mother of a 24-year-old, who authorities are calling Victim Six, told The Patriot-News exclusively. "My son is extremely distraught, and now to see how we were betrayed, words cannot tell you. To see that Graham Spanier is putting his unconditional support behind [former Penn State athletic director Tim] Curley and [resigned Vice President of Business and Finance Gary] Shultz when he should be putting his support behind the victims, it just makes them victims all over again."
For the mother of another former child, who is now being called Victim One, trouble started when Sandusky, a volunteer coach at the boy's Pennsylvania high school, wanted to help discipline him for bad behavior. The two had met through Sandusky's charity for needy children, Second Mile.
"I said, 'No way, he's my kid,'" the mother told the Patriot-News.
Soon after, her son, then 15, started asking about a database for "sex weirdos."
She called the high school principal and was told to come in "right away."
The principal was in tears. The boy, upon telling his mom what happened, also broke down.
Central Mountain High School officials contacted the authorities immediately.
The boy was "very afraid" of Sandusky, according to the mother. When told to say no to the coach, he told his mother he couldn't.
When asked why not, he said, "You just don't do that.
The story told by the mother of "Victim Six" is every bit as haunting, if not more so. After Sandusky gave her son a tour of the Penn State football locker room in 1998, the boy came home and told her, "If you're wondering why my hair is wet, we took a shower together."
He then ran to his room.
The boy later told his mom there was another child in the shower with him and the coach. That boy was 11.
The mother called police. An investigation started. The mother confronted Sandusky in his home, with the police listening in another room.
According to grand jury evidence, Sandusky told the mother of Victim One: "I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead."
But Sandusky was cleared.
"And you're going to tell me that Spanier and Paterno weren't informed of something that was that huge that [the district attorney] was in on it but Spanier was kept in the dark?" the mother told the Patriot-News. "I’m just not that stupid. I’m so upset I just can’t believe it."
Sandusky's attorney, contacted by the Patriot-News, denies all charges. Scott Paterno, Joe's son, said Penn State lawyers assured him his father was never told about the 1998 report.
According to the grand jury presentment, Sandusky had eight alleged victims. Six shared showers in Lasch Building at Penn State, which houses the football program.
Both mothers suffered for several years, only to learn over the weekend that Penn State officials did not report the incidents to police.
"I'm infuriated that people would not report something like that," the mother of Victim One told the Patriot-News. "I still can’t believe it. I'm appalled. I'm shocked. I'm stunned. There's so many words. I'm very mad. They could have prevented this from happening."