Matt Sandusky was taken in by Jerry Sandusky and his wife, Dorothy, in 1996 when, as a boy then known as Matt Heichel, he set fire to a barn near his biological mother's home. He was formally adopted by the couple when he turned 18.
In many ways, he matched the profile of many of the young men who have come forward to accuse Jerry Sandusky.
Prosecutors allege that the former coach targeted boys from poor, single-parent homes whom he met through the Second Mile, the charity for underprivileged youth he founded in 1977.
Matt Sandusky grew up poor and without a father. He initially met Sandusky through a Second Mile camp when he was 7.
Signs of a troubled relationship between Matt and the Sanduskys emerged early on.
In 1994, police were called to the residence to investigate allegations of stealing by the youth. Police records referenced in court filings by Jerry Sandusky's defense attorney Joseph Amendola last year say Matt Sandusky ran away in 1996.
Four months after moving into the Sandusky home, Matt attempted suicide.
Into adulthood, he appeared uneasy after talking to his adopted father, Matt Sandusky's ex-wife, Jill Thomas, said last year. She requested that a judge bar Jerry Sandusky from seeing her children with her former husband within days of their grandfather's arrest.
But throughout the former coach's legal ordeal, Matt Sandusky has remained a largely silent figure. He and his biological mother testified last year before the investigating grand jury.
Amendola insisted during a pretrial hearing this year that all of his client's six adopted children would be willing to vouch for his character. None was called to testify.
Matt Sandusky did not escape the attention of jurors. During testimony last week, the man identified in court documents as Victim 4 recalled an incident in which he, as a young boy, showered in Pennsylvania State University facilities with Matt and Jerry Sandusky after a game of racquetball.
Jerry Sandusky pumped a handful of soap from a wall dispenser and began wrestling with the boy, Victim 4 said. He told jurors that Matt Sandusky shook his head and left the locker room.
Contact Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @jeremyrroebuck.
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