The Jerry Sandusky criminal trial and civil settlements brought to the public’s attention a series of crimes that one man had perpetrated against dozens of innocent victims. The number of victims and the lengthy timeline of abuse were overwhelming for many Americans following the trial. They also served as an important reminder that child sexual abusers are often enabled and empowered by those who suspect inappropriate behavior but fail to intervene.
About 10 cases have been tried, but more than 30 victims have come forward. Sandusky is now serving a de facto life sentence in prison, and many Pennsylvanians would like to “close the book” on this difficult chapter in our state’s recent history. Unfortunately, there may be more victims that the public was not previously aware of.
Earlier this month, news agencies reported on a man referred to as “Victim X,” who recently filed a private criminal complaint against Jerry Sandusky. The man claims that in 1988, when he was a high school junior with promising athletic talent, the course of his life was forever changed after being sexually abused by Sandusky during a week-long football camp at Penn State.
After the two alleged incidents of abuse, Victim X says, his life began to spiral out of control. He began abusing drugs and alcohol, and spent his 20s in constant trouble with the law. He was in prison for a parole violation in 2011 when he learned of Jerry Sandusky’s arrest.
He eventually gave a four-hour interview to investigators about the sexual abuse he suffered, but his story was not included in the one and only round of prosecution. If there had been a second criminal trial, his story likely would have been included.
At this point, it is highly unlikely that Jerry Sandusky’s sentence will be affected by additional allegations from Victim X or any others who come forward. But for many sex abuse victims, the healing process requires a confrontation with their abuser, and that may be what Victim X is seeking.
The man’s attorney explained that “What we’re asking for is his day in court against Jerry Sandusky. It’s not unusual for victims to take this avenue to want to proceed criminally against a person who effectively has a life sentence. A victim has their right to a day in court. A crime was committed against him.”
Source: CNN, “Will Jerry Sandusky face new charges?” Sara Ganim, Dec. 5, 2014