A child abuse expert says the allegations raise the possibility that he may not have been raised in a healthy sexual environment, whether or not he was himself victimized.
University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Gelles said adult men who seek sexual contact with adolescent girls are seeking power over them and can’t have a mature relationship with another adult.
“The sexual development in that household must depart significantly from normal. Mom is denying (her husband’s serial abuse) or didn’t know. Jerry was accused of having some sexual contact with one of his adopted children. It’s hard to imagine that this young man (Jeffrey) is going to develop normally,” said Gelles, chair of child welfare and family violence at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice.
Jeffrey Sandusky is one of six people adopted by Jerry Sandusky. He’s been a stalwart supporter of his father, regularly attending his court proceedings alongside his mother, Dottie Sandusky, who also has consistently supported her husband and fought to clear his name.
Jeffrey Sandusky has not made any public allegations of abuse by Jerry Sandusky, but one of his siblings, Matt Sandusky, alleged at the time of their adoptive father’s 2012 criminal trial that he had been abused by him. Matt Sandusky was not called as a witness, and Jerry Sandusky has never been charged with those allegations.
Abbie Newman, chief executive of the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County, a private agency that helps coordinate child abuse investigations, said it’s not unusual for patterns of abusive behavior to exist among different generations of the same family.
“We certainly see cases at Mission Kids of allegations of intergenerational child abuse,” she said.
Sandusky also was charged with six counts of unlawful contact with a minor and two counts each of solicitation to photograph or depict sexual acts, sexual abuse of children and corruption of minors.
A state trooper said in the arrest affidavit that on Nov. 21, the alleged victims’ father turned over to investigators text messages from Sandusky in which he asked one of the girls for nude photographs.
The affidavit said Sandusky told the alleged victim in texts in March that “it’s not weird because he studied medicine” and instructed her “to not show these texts to anyone.”
The girl’s mother told investigators that when she confronted Sandusky, he told her “he knows it was wrong and inappropriate,” police said.
The girl, called “Victim 1” in the affidavit, told police the texts made her uncomfortable and that “he kept pressuring me and asked me multiple times not to show the texts to anyone,” police said.
Gelles gave the teen accuser credit for reporting the alleged contact.
“This girl was mature beyond her years, and smart beyond her years, and certainly not vulnerable to the kind of grooming that predators tend to use,” he said.
Prosecutors allege Jeffrey Sandusky sought oral sex from a second girl, “Victim 2,” in 2013. She was 15 years old at the time.
“Victim 2” told investigators that Jeffrey Sandusky told her in March: “I can’t even say anything except I’m sorry.”
Jerry Sandusky is serving a lengthy prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys, maintains he was wrongly convicted and is appealing.
The state Corrections Department said that because of the charges, Jeffrey Sandusky was suspended without pay Monday from employment as a corrections officer at Rockview State Prison, near State College. He was hired in August 2015.