“It was a conspiracy…I didn’t have time to prepare for trial…I’m not a monster.” You have to hand it to Jerry Sandusky – he’s sticking to his story. The question is why.
On Tuesday, Sandusky was sentenced in Centre County Superior Court to 30-60 years, a de facto life sentence (Trib 10/10) that followed his conviction on 45 counts of various sex crimes against young boys while an assistant football coach at Penn State.
Sandusky’s conviction was based on years of documented allegations as well as the appearance of several victims and an eye witness, all of whom were found to be credible by a jury. Innocent? Most people would more readily believe he had been abducted by aliens and replaced by a clone grown from a pod.
Sandusky should feel grateful that the court allowed his sentences, which actually fell into the 79-172 year range, to run concurrently. Instead, he still maintains that he did not sexually assault, abuse, rape or otherwise destroy those ten young victims.
Why is that? There are few plausible answers. Perhaps he has a book deal he’s weighing, and the publisher, Sexploitation, Inc., won’t cut a check if he caves and admits the truth. Maybe he doesn’t want to admit to his wife that all those muted screams and cries coming from the basement, the ones she must have asked about over the years, were exactly what they sounded like.
What I find more likely, however, is the surprisingly implausible idea that Jerry Sandusky is telling the truth. I should first explain that “the truth” to which I refer is not based in reality. In the real world, Jerry Sandusky is a convicted serial child rapist and pedophile, one of the worst monsters to stalk the earth in the shape of man.
In Jerry Sandusky’s reality, however, he shapes his own self-delusions. There he clings to his version of the truth like so many other sex offenders who coexist both in our rational world and in their perverted fantasy. If he did not do this, Sandusky might wake up one morning and realize he was a depraved fiend. Assuming he had even a shred of conscience, what would prevent him from finding a sharp razor, laying down in the tub and filling it with his own blood? The rationalizations continue until even he doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not.
Several years ago I took a course entitled, “Sex Offender Psychology and Interview Techniques.” After this class I was assigned to interview several suspects arrested for various sex crimes, including one middle-aged man arrested for raping a ten year old girl. He refused to admit to the crime until I wondered aloud (as suggested by the training) if the young lady had been the first to suggest the sexual encounter. The man grasped at that straw with a speed and sincerity that I found astonishing.
From this experience I learned to leave the victim’s age and the term “rape” out of future interviews, finding that sex offenders needed to frame their actions not as we perceived them, but as they perceived themselves.
So I believe it is with Jerry Sandusky. This is a man, after all, who practically admitted to his bizarrely intimate relationship with kids during a prime time news interview. He maintains his innocence, I believe, because he is framing his answer to the wrong question. Either way the point is moot. Jerry Sandusky is a convicted sex offender and he’s heading to prison.
So who really cares what Jerry Sandusky says? Not me. I hope he rots in jail.