Sandusky Case: 'Because of you, I trust no one'
By Ann O'Neill
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- The young man locked eyes with Jerry Sandusky in a packed courtroom Tuesday and stared him down. He'd waited a long time for this moment.
"You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model," he seethed angrily at the man convicted of sexually violating him and nine other boys. "I can't begin to express how this has screwed up my life. Because of you, I trust no one and I will not allow my own child out of my sight for fear of what might happen to him."
He is known as Victim No. 4. He is 29 years old now.
When he was 11 or 12, he was the coach's favorite. Sandusky told the boy many times that he loved him.
He took him to places most kids only dream of going: inside the Penn State football team's locker room, where he dressed up in the uniforms of star players three times his size; to the sidelines at game time, where sports network cameras captured him by Sandusky's side; to bowl games and banquets, where he was treated like the team mascot.
The attention made the boy feel special and important, but it came at a terrible price. Sandusky, Penn State's legendary defensive coordinator, was a serial child molester and the thing that brought them together, Sandusky's Second Mile charity was, in the words of the prosecutor, "a victim factory."
For years, the boy pushed dark thoughts to the back of his mind. He kept his secret, believing he was the only one. He didn't come forward when the Sandusky investigation began three years ago. But police combed through the coach's 2000 autobiography, "Touched," searching for potential victims and tracked him down.
Cpl. Joseph Leiter of the Pennsylvania State Police knocked on his door early in 2010. By then he was a young man with a son of his own.
"Go away," he said.
He was "very, very reluctant to talk," Leiter recalled during Sandusky's trial. "I remember he curled up in the fetal position at the end of his couch."
And he was "shaking and distraught" when he walked into the state police barracks a few weeks later, finally willing to talk, said his attorney, Ben Andreozzi.
"He viewed Jerry as a father figure, and it's been extremely difficult for him to talk publicly about this," the lawyer said.
No. 4 was perhaps the most devastating witness against the man he called "Jer." He'd kept photographs and the gifts Sandusky gave him -- snowboards, a drum set, ice hockey gear, team jerseys, sweats, goggles, shoes, an Orange Bowl watch, game balls and other memorabilia -- as well as cards and letters in which Sandusky poured his heart out in his most unguarded moments.
The boy's picture was in Sports Illustrated and Sandusky's biography. He starred in football training videos, demonstrating the moves that made Penn State famous as "Linebacker U."
Victims angrily confront Sandusky at sentencing
For a while, he got to be one of the cool kids. Sure, others teased him about Sandusky "all the time," he'd later say, but he'd just brush that off as jealousy.
"They're making things up like, oh, you know, you're being molested by Jerry and you're his little butt buddy and all these kinds of things, you know?" he testified at Sandusky's trial. "I'm sure they'd switch places with me in a heartbeat, but they're just jealous. You know how kids are."
As a teenager, he kept his secret buried deep. "If I had ever said anything and it had got out, it would have just been so much worse. I mean, I denied it forever. Forever."
The five years he spent with Sandusky weren't just about an older man's roving hand squeezing a boy's knee in the car, furtive groping and soapy bear hugs in the shower, or even the eventual, inevitable sex. It was a relationship, say experts who work with sex offenders and their victims.
For Sandusky, it might even have been a love affair. But for No. 4, it was a violation, a betrayal that will take a lifetime to get over. He took a giant step in the recovery process in court Tuesday, his lawyer said. He gave Sandusky a piece of his mind.
But if he was hoping for an apology, none was forthcoming from a man who insisted to the end that he was the victim. And without an apology, or even an acknowledgment, there can be no forgiveness.
"I don't forgive you for what you did," No. 4 said. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive you, but I hope that the others who were abused after me will forgive me for not coming forward sooner."
Sandusky: 'I've been me'
It's official: Sandusky, the 68-year-old retired football coach once considered Joe Paterno's heir apparent at Penn State, has been formally labeled a "sexually violent pedophile."
He did not fight the classification Tuesday, which was required under Pennsylvania's mandatory sex offender reporting rules, known as Megan's Law. But he didn't admit it, either. No, far from it.
Sandusky clearly sees himself as the victim of a vast conspiracy at the hands of boys he once mentored, the state attorney general's office and the powers that be at Penn State.
"They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart," he said in a prerecorded jailhouse interview played on the campus radio station on the eve of his sentencing.
"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage."
To the prosecutor, it was yet another depraved assault by Sandusky on his victims. "He went on the radio and whined about his own pain," said Joseph McGettigan III, who called out Sandusky's performance on the radio and again in court as "banal, self-delusional, completely untethered from reality. It was entirely-self-focused, as if he himself were the victim."
Usually taciturn, the white-haired prosecutor wasn't finished talking. "Ridiculous," he added. "An insult to human decency."
No. 4 had something to say about it as well. "Rather than take responsibility for your actions, you attacked us," he scolded Sandusky. "You have no morals."
When Sandusky's turn finally came to speak in court, there was little insight to be gained from his rambling, 15-minute soliloquy. There was no remorse, no apology, no accounting for his actions, good or bad. He did touch on a range of subjects: how he awoke on his 46th wedding anniversary and "knocked my head" on the cinder-block wall of his tiny cell; how he has "special inmate friends" in jail; how he hopes to be "a candle for others"; how he passes the time behind bars tending to his memories.
Many of those memories seemed disturbingly self-absorbed and childlike.
"I see me throwing thousands of kids up in the air" and tossing hundreds of water balloons, he said. "I see kids laughing and playing, and I see a big, lovable dog licking their faces and I feel warm."
At other times, he seemed to deliver his own eulogy:
"I've forgiven, I've been forgiven," he said. "I've comforted others, I've been comforted. I've been kissed by dogs, I've been bit by dogs. I've been a fighter, I've conformed, I've been different. I've been me."
He choked back sobs as he recalled a lesson learned by a grandson at preschool: "You get a crinkly heart when you're mean to others," he said, his voice quavering. "You get a big heart when you are kind to others."
He then returned to the defense table and slid his prepared remarks into a manila envelope.
Some observers said they saw Sandusky smirking. But his expression seemed to be that of a man confused by his legal predicament. In the end, the man who had fooled so many for so long and called himself "The Great Pretender" appeared to succeed only at hoodwinking himself.
"It is this remarkable ability to deceive that marks the pedophile," said Judge John Cleland, sentencing Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison -- in effect, for the rest of his life.
"The crime is not only what you did to their bodies," the judge said to Sandusky, speaking about his victims. "Your crime was also an assault on their psyches and souls."
The judge offered some comfort to the young men: "The fact that you were assaulted is no cause for embarrassment or shame. As children you were victims of a pedophile. His conduct is no fault of your own. As adults, you have come forward. It is for your courage and not your assault for which you will be remembered."
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