‘Victim 1’ says his mentor, Sandusky, became a predator

Posted: June 13, 2012

BELLEFONTE, Pa. - It was gut-wrenching, riveting testimony from an 18-year-old Clinton County, Pa., man who described how his mentor became his tormentor through several years of sexual abuse.

The first to take the stand on Tuesday in the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the man, known as Victim 1, repeatedly sobbed as he told a courtroom full of reporters, jurors, court officials and members of the public that the former assistant football coach performed oral sex on him when he was 13 and then said to him, "It's your turn."

Sandusky sat impassively at the defense table throughout the testimony, even as the teenager appeared to be in agony.

"He made me," the youth said. "He made me put my mouth on his privates."

At one point, a court worker placed a box of tissues in front of the teen, whose early reports of abuse launched the state investigation into Sandusky that led to the November grand jury indictment.

The defense contends the youth is lying in hope of personal gain in a civil suit against Sandusky.

Such an outpouring of emotion from the young man, whose name is being withheld by The Inquirer, is not unusual for sexual abuse survivors, experts said.

Many hold in their emotions for years, fearing the stigma of going public, said Sue Cornbluth, a Temple University psychology professor and clinical psychologist who has counseled child victims before they testify.

"I have seen a victim throw up right in the court because it was so hard for them to testify," she said.

When they testify, some victims experience the same fear, shame and embarrassment that they felt during the assault, said Jennifer Marsh, director of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, based in Washington.

But Marsh and Cornbluth said testifying can be "empowering" for the victim.

"There may be a great sense of relief," Marsh said.

The teenager said he met Sandusky through the charity Sandusky started, the Second Mile. He described how what began as family-like kisses on the cheek, together with back-cracking and blowing on his stomach, escalated to kisses on the lips as he started staying at the Sandusky home for days at a time.

After two or three years of occasions when Sandusky would rub his back and rub his buttocks, "he put, ugh, he put his mouth on my privates," the youth testified. "I spaced. I didn't know what to do, with all the thoughts running through my head. I just kind of blacked out and didn't want it to happen."

He hung his head and cried.

The teenager said that abuse occurred from 80 to 90 percent of the approximately 100 times he visited Sandusky's house and that he never told his mother because he was "embarrassed" and "confused."

Officials allege that Sandusky molested the youth - who testified that he formerly lived in public housing with his mother, brother, and sister and never knew his father - several times between the ages of 11 and 14.

In his testimony, Victim 1 initially lied to some counselors, telling them nothing sexual occurred between he and Sandusky.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Joseph Amendola pointed out inconsistencies in his allegations.

"I was scared. I was embarrassed," the teenager replied. "You're pushing dates on me, and I don't remember dates. I remember all the stuff he did. You're asking me about dates."

Marsh, of the national hotline, said victims of trauma often experience memory lapses or mix up sequences of events.

"It's a natural reaction to trauma," she said.

As young male victims become men, they can face problems with intimacy and question their own sexuality, experts said. Whether they are supported by loved ones can influence the impact, Marsh said.

Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq.

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