A scandal sixteen years in the making

Pennsylvania’s Patriot-News explains how there were warning signs about Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1995:

The earliest documented report of possible abuse at the hands of Sandusky is in 1995, when his now-legally adopted son was still a teenage foster child in his home.

The adoption file for Matt Sandusky, who had a different name at the time, contains letters of concern from his mother to children and youth officials and to a Centre County judge.

Matt’s biological mother, Debra Long, testified before the grand jury.

Matt, 33, is not one of the victims in the grand jury presentment, but he did testify before the grand jury.

Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, said Long is upset with Sandusky for helping her son and her allegations are not based in fact. Matt went to live with the Sandusky family after he was caught setting fire to a barn in 1995.

Children and Youth Services placed him with the Sandusky family at Jerry Sandusky’s request. He knew Matt through The Second Mile.

In his book, “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story” several pages are devoted to Matt.

“He became an instant challenge for me,” Sandusky writes.

Debra Long was allowed to visit her son only one-half day per month after he went to live with the Sanduskys.

About four months after he went to live with Jerry, Matt attempted suicide with a girl who was also staying at Sandusky’s house.

“The probation department has some serious concerns about the juvenile’s safety and his current progress in placement with the Sandusky family,” wrote Terry L. Trude, a school-based probation officer, days after the suicide attempt.

The letter, addressed to Centre County Judge David Grine, also said Long was concerned about Matt’s safety and mental condition, and asked that Matt go to a different foster family.

Trude finally recommended that Matt’s placement in the Sandusky house be reviewed within two months.

The night of the suicide attempt, Matt wrote a letter to the probation officer dealing with his case.

It read, in part: “I would like to be placed back with the Sanduskys. I feel that they have supported me even when I have messed up. They are a loving caring group of people. I love both my biological family and the Sandusky family.”

The day Jerry Sandusky was arrested, Matt brought his kids over to Jerry’s house. The mother of Matt’s children almost immediately went to court to prevent future visits. A judge’s order now prevents Sandusky from having unsupervised contact or overnight visits with his grandchildren.

It gets worse. Read the whole thing, at the risk of wanting to punch holes in any nearby walls. (via @LATimesfarmer)

There’s a healthy debate about whether Penn State football coach Joe Paterno did all he was legally required to do at the time he was first informed of Sandusky’s child abuse.  In Nova Scotia, the Children and Family Services Act couldn’t be any more clear: if you come across information that a child is in need of protection, it is a criminal offence not to report it to the Department of Community Services:

Duty to report

23 (1) Every person who has information, whether or not it is confidential or privileged, indicating that a child is in need of protective services shall forthwith report that information to an agency.

(2) No action lies against a person by reason of that person reporting information pursuant to subsection (1), unless the reporting of that information is done falsely and maliciously.

(3) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and upon summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both.

(4) No proceedings shall be instituted pursuant to subsection (3) more than two years after the contravention occurred.

(5) Every person who falsely and maliciously reports information to an agency indicating that a child is in need of protective services is guilty of an offence and upon summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both. 1990, c. 5, s. 23; 1996, c. 10, s. 2.

If this isn’t the law in Pennsylvania, it probably will be soon.

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One thought on “A scandal sixteen years in the making

  1. Apologies for the OT, but I couldn’t find an email address on the site! I got a spam that went out under your name. Think it was from a yahoo.ca address (I deleted it already). It’s probably nothing but you might want to check for infestations.

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