Dottie Sandusky’s Silent Complicity Deserves Punishment, At the Very Least, An Apology

Does Dottie Sandusky Deserve a Jail Cell of Her Own? ~ Melinda Henneberger, The Washington Post

“A few miles from the county jail where Penn State predator Jerry Sandusky can take a shower every day, the local paper reports, his wife of 45 years has been holed up at home with the blinds and curtains drawn.

The blinders, too, are apparently still on. Sure as ever that the former football coach never raped a kid in the school showers, or did anything else he’s been accused of, Dottie Sandusky is, the stock phrase offered up by defense attorney Joe Amendola, “trying to put the pieces back together.”

The case is far from over – two more accusers came forward during the trial, including Jerry and Dottie’s own adopted son, Matt. Two high-ranking former Penn State officials will soon go to trial, too, charged with lying to a state grand jury that’s still investigating, and with failure to report allegations about Sandusky’s sick behavior – eyewitness accounts from their own employees. Since he was found guilty last week, on 45 counts of violating 10 kids over 15 years, there’s been a lot of hopeful talk about the message his conviction sends to victims everywhere, that even a bunch of fatherless kids nobody was looking out for can tell the truth about a powerful man and be believed.

But when Dottie does venture from her home, to visit him in jail, as she has been doing, she can do so without any worry that she, too, might soon have a cell of her own.

Which is a shame, in my view; teachers, therapists, even priests have a legal duty to report attacks on children, but it’s murkier for spouses, because the “spousal privilege” that prevents a wife from ever having to testify against her husband in effect puts the protection of a marriage above the safety of a child. And what kind of message does that send others in Dottie’s situation?

Jurors who found Sandusky guilty of child rape believed the eight young men who took the stand to accuse him of violating them, over and over, in that house with the drapes drawn, while she was home. One of them told the jury that unless the basement was soundproof – and it wasn’t – she would have to have heard his screams.

Dottie later testified that she didn’t hear any such thing, and suggested that the young men were in the wrong. “Conniving,” she called one of them.

But even “if she simply was purposely ignorant,” said longtime Frederick County, Md. prosecutor Scott Rolle, “that’s probably not enough” to bring her to account for any part she may have played in the debasement that went on in the playroom downstairs.

In Rolle’s 25 years as a prosector, he saw many a horrified, heartbroken wife call the cops on the predator she’d married.

But sometimes, he says, a child molester’s Mrs. protects him instead. With the stakes so high, “people sometimes convince themselves they didn’t see what they saw,” hear what they heard, or know what they know. Which certainly comes in handy on the witness stand: “If you can convince yourself it didn’t happen, then you can convincingly say you don’t know anything.”

Usually, when we think of the wives of men caught up in sex scandals, we think of wronged women – the kind of “Good Wife” who, thank goodness, is no longer required to stand by her famous husband’s side in pearls, pumps and obvious pain as he tearfully tells the world that he is a “proud gay American,” as former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey did. Or apologizes for a “very serious sin,” a la Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, after he was accused of carrying on with prostitutes.

When the sex scandal involves child rape, however, a wife who protects her pedophile husband is herself shielded, to the point that the complicity of the not-so-good wife is almost impossible to prosecute.

To go on living with a man who is beloved, successful, and a prolific pervert, maybe one would have to choose not to know that those screams coming from the basement weren’t the TV. And hey, if even the revered Joe Paterno stayed mum after hearing that his defensive coordinator sexually used children, then who was she to turn on the lights and say the party’s over?

We know that predators prey on the more vulnerable, who they can later paint as unstable; that’s standard. But they also tend to choose spouses who can be counted on to suppress any unpleasant ideas that might occur to them.

Is 69-year-old Dottie that kind of woman?

They met in college, and in her husband’s 2000 memoir, “Touched,” even the chapter called “Dottie Gross,” her maiden name, isn’t really about her at all. Much of the book is a bouquet to his parents, who also ran a boys home. And he’s plenty emotional about children, who he says “always have and always will get to my soft spot.”

But his description of meeting and courting Dottie includes not a single reference to anything about her that specifically appealed to him – no memory of how she looked, or what she said, or that funny thing she did that was just her all over.

Instead, we’re told, “I don’t know whether the love bug had hit me right away,” and “I was always very shy and backward, never one to be aggressive socially.” Finally, he got a “little push” in Dottie’s direction from his mother, who invited her to one of his softball games.

“I worked with kids on the playground in those days,” he wrote, “and Dottie would often find her way there to keep me company.” A photo taken the night before their wedding is striking because Jerry and his parents are smiling widely and Dottie, who was quite beautiful, and her parents, too, all look so somber.

His description of their early marriage is an odd run-down of his failures in the manly art of home repairs. And in between generalities about the “old-fashioned” Sandusky clan eating most meals together, he describes Dottie more as a mother than spouse. “Dottie was the leader,” he says at one point. And at another he tells us, “Dottie has always been there to look after them when I was away, and usually from the minute I was back in town I became another big kid for her to supervise.”

In some counties in the Washington area, a parent can go to jail for chronically failing to get her kid to school on time, but nowhere in America is a woman with “another big kid. . .to supervise” held responsible for willful ignorance.

“I believe I live a good part of my life in a make-believe world,” Jerry wrote in his creepy memoir. “I enjoyed pretending as a kid, and I love doing the same thing as an adult with these kids.”

Maybe a woman in that situation would have to get pretty creative, too, in filling in some blanks of her own. But though in theory, her testimony in her husband’s defense could open her up to charges of perjury or obstructing justice, in reality such a case would go nowhere.

At one point in her husband’s trial, Amendola, jokingly compared the case to a soap opera – “General Hospital,” maybe, or, hahaha, “All My Children,” get it? My favorite daytime drama was “One Life to Live,” set in fictional Llanview, Penn., where people were always getting married to avoid having to testify against one another. But the more apt TV comparison is to “The Sopranos,” and specifically Carmela, the mob wife who lives the life, and doesn’t want to know any more than she has to about any number of things.

It isn’t that I don’t feel for Mrs. Sandusky’s very real predicament, looking back on her nearly half a century with a widely-loved monster. But she was there, too, with her eyes squeezed shut. Her life as she knew it no doubt did end when her husband was arrested, as Amendola said in his emotional closing argument to the jury. And her punishment now is that life as she knew it never existed at all.”

The lives of Jerry Sandusky’s victims ended the moment he touched their penis, made them touch his, gave them oral sex and raped them.

Dottie ought to be thanking her lucky stars that she has a life. Maybe one day she will actually pull her head out of her behind and realize what she has facilitated for decades. Hopefully one day, she will self-reflect and actually experience pain over what she has allowed to happen and supported.

Maybe one day Dottie Sandusky will pick up a telephone and call each and every one of her husband’s victims and apologize for being a part of the hell they have lived through, and for some, still endure to this day.

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58 Responses to Dottie Sandusky’s Silent Complicity Deserves Punishment, At the Very Least, An Apology

  1. PM Stefan says:

    Do we know for sure what Dottie Sandusky lived with being married to her pedophile husband?

    No one has asked her what she experienced. We all make assumptions. Maybe we are wrong about her.

    If we gave more opportunities to women such as Dottie to talk about the situations in their homes and gave them opportunities to escape them, we might find a way to lessen the tide of abuse.

    I know this true account about an older woman’s husband who controlled every aspect of her life down to the check books and shopping and what she wore. Her husband had abused countless children through their church. The woman lived in fear and never spoke to anyone about what she knew was occurring for fear of getting abused and controlled further.

    How come NO ONE REACHED OUT TO HER? They knew the abuse was occurring at the church and no one came to her rescue. Instead, they shunned her.

    They shot their wounded. She needed as much rescuing as those children did.

    Years later after the abuse was exposed and stopped, people still do not come to her rescue.

    Her relief came from what I would call a divine intervention. A freak accident killed her husband and left her hanging onto life by a thread. Eventually, she recovered and started to take control of her life. Only then after her husband died did the fellowship step in to help her.

    I call this sick and disgusting behavior by a church. It literally makes me sick to my stomach to hear this woman’s story.

    • Alethea says:

      PM, what we know about Dottie Sandusky, is that she denied the accusations with vehemence, called the victims “clingy” and “liars” and she stands firm in her belief that Jerry Sandusky is innocent –even in the face of all the victim’s testimony and all the testimony of the WITNESSES to the crimes.

      So what we know is that Dottie is trying to protect herself, cares little about the truth, and probably ignored several warning signs during her marriage.

  2. Alethea says:

    Peace Singer,

    Do your research before you come here looking for sympathy, COMPASSION and dialogue. Research the countless cases of women who WILLINGLY IGNORE child sexual abuse going on in the home, or who facilitate it, and WHY they do it. Research the studies that have shown that at least 45% of women who know sexual abuse is going on, or who have a suspicion, will do NOTHING to stop it.

    “ I can’t say I didn’t have any inklings during the offense period. I did, but it was more on the order of “something’s wrong but I don’t know what it is.” Never in a million years would I have suspected what was actually going on. Its really like a jigsaw puzzle, having a few pieces and not knowing what the picture is. Your assumptions about what people knew or should have known paints a very broad stroke, Alethea. Just because YOU think they should have known something doesn’t mean they are guilty of anything.”

    What are you doing commenting here anyway? It is obvious that your unwillingness to read what I am trying to say to you is clouded by your anger towards me, which, by the above sentence might be anger at yourself being directed at me.

    “Alethea, I know that what you are doing is very well intentioned.”

    Well I have yet to discover what your true intentions are, so maybe you ought to go start your own Blog or go post your comments in a support group for people who say they were blindsided by their spouse or lover being a child sexual abuser? Or one that discusses having compassion for sexual abusers? I don’t think this is the right forum for you.

    And once again, you are confusing me with someone who “hates” others. You do not know my heart, and you do not know how to distinguish the difference between speaking the truth and righteous anger…..and hatred.

    Please go find another place to submit your agenda. My time is much more valuable than to waste it trying to convince you of things that you do not wish to see.

    • little nel says:

      Alethea, you have done a great service to your readers by exposing the flawed thinking that Peacesinger writes in responses on this blog.

      Peacesinger come across as a confused person who is trying to prove something that is useless to those of us who desire understanding, truth, and recovery.

      Don Quixote and Peacesinger have a lot in common in that our real enemies are not imaginary windmills but the useless attempts to justify lies.

      • Alethea says:

        “our real enemies are not imaginary windmills but the useless attempts to justify lies.”

        Whoa! Love this.

        Our real enemy is within ourselves, the self, the human ego….the part of us that accepts lies, that lies to ourself for self-comfort, and that tries to justify evil by creating more lies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alethea, it’s pretty clear that you are not able to accept that the perspective of others has value. Sorry I wasted your time.

      • Alethea says:

        Peace Singer,

        The perspective of others sometimes has value, not always. Just because you have an opinion, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one.

        You post here at a Blog started by someone who was severely sexually and psychologically abused, and at a Blog where the vast majority of the others who post here, and who read my Blog, were also sexually abused as children. You equal chocolate cake to child rape, tell us to have compassion for sexual abusers, refuse to acknowledge that there are countless cases of mothers (and sometimes fathers) who willingly ignore child sexual abuse going on in the home, and you have the nerve to play the victim in my comments to you.

        All we have read from you is, ‘poor me and poor child sexual abusers.’ Why don’t you do some serious research about the devastating and life-long affects of child sexual abuse, and the affects that mothers not protecting their children have on a victim (whether or not the mother knew). Why don’t you do some research about what victims go through, and what victims experience, and what kind of diseases and illnesses are associated with child sexual abuse, and how many children never tell, and how often abusers get away with it because of people like you –who say we need to feel sorry for them.

        Have you ever apologized to your husband’s victims? Have you bothered to try and feel their pain, instead of giving them ‘woe’s me?’….Are they your children? Why don’t you get honest with us and yourself, then maybe we would have more compassion for your situation. How exactly did you have a feeling that something ‘was not right, but that you didn’t know what it was?’

        Little Nel, Cathy, and I were sexually abused and all of us have written about very embarrassing and traumatizing things that we have experienced. You however come here with your problems and ask us to support you and to have compassion for abusers, yet you have not shared anything much with us at all.

  3. little nel says:

    You stated that (paraphrased) that I might be stuck in some part of my healing or childhood aspect and that your therapist is in LA and you offered to give me her number.

    I have a tendency to obsess on certain parts of my childhood and I have been going through a lot of feelings of loss lately, so I am feeling depressed. I’m hoping that this is a normal response to my loss and that it’s temporary.

    My husband thinks that I have “Divine discontentment” and it’s God’s way of keeping me focused on His plan for me. I might need to get some feedback from a therapist who understands childhood sexual abuse and get some clarity.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Alethea says:

      Little Nel,

      There is something called “The dark night of the soul” which can create a deep depressive state. It is connected to The Divine in that the person emerges from the state with more love for God, more clarity on their life’s purpose and a profound joy. Maybe that is what your husband means. But this dark night is usually rooted in some kind of deep wound of the soul like severe child abuse. A person can simultaneously experience loss/depression/abandonment in their mind and body from having been abused, but also be going through a spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, we can’t get to the beautiful side of the spiritual awakening until we weed out the crap still clogging our mind from the abuse.

      email me for more info. and contact number on my therapist. I think that you would be very happy if you called her and began the therapy. If people knew what she can do for them, they would be lining up to receive the therapy.

      My email: sanjuanangel7@yahoo.com

      • little nel says:

        “A deep wound of the soul” that is what I feel right now.

        I have always thought that because I did not enjoy the abuse like my assailant did that I was a homophobic racist according to “political correctness.”

        I need more clarity right now and I would be grateful for another spiritual awakening. If more therapy will give me what I need, then I will accept it and be willing to weed out the unnecessary crap that is holding me back.

        Thank you, again, for your kindness.

        • Alethea says:

          “I have always thought that because I did not enjoy the abuse like my assailant did that I was a homophobic racist according to “political correctness.””

          That is a pretty powerful statement and probably caused some strong emotional turmoil in you.

          What my therapist does is Sacred. It is not just “therapy” it is a pure path to true healing and, in the process, it draws the client closer to God. It is a beautiful thing that I wish everyone could have.

          • peacesinger says:

            Can you describe further what your therapist does? Is it a kind of hypnotherapy? I have had wonderful results from hypnotherapy for trauma. I would like to know what makes it Sacred. Thank you.

            • Alethea says:

              What makes it Sacred is that the therapy can lead a person to a total transformation of the soul, not just rid them of their problems. She also helps people heal from serious illnesses and disease. My husband had a serious case of recurring Gout. He could not work, surf, or even walk without extreme pain and it was hindering his life. He was healed from that and without drugs, and can do and eat whatever he wants. He can drink a beer if he wants to, or eat shellfish…everything they say you can’t do when you are prone to Gout. He had anger lodged in his kidneys and my therapist was able to help him get rid of that, so he stopped having Gout. She has helped a woman get rid of a breast lump, and helped a man dissolve kidney stones. She has helped a man with impotency and helped a friend of mine to rid herself of severe Agoraphobia. She has helped another person I know to get rid of Bipolar Disorder and these are only the cases I know of personally. She has helped me rid myself of the disease from hell –Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, and has helped countless people for over 30 years. I say “helped” because the person deserves credit too. The person who has a will to heal does the work. My therapist is the tool to help themselves.

              She helps a person to be a better person, a more God-like person. She helps them to make more room in their heart for love instead of self. This is what I mean by Sacred. Yes, it is hypnotherapy or hypno-analysis, which is quite different from hypnosis. But she is gifted by God, not just schooling and book knowledge.

              • Alethea says:

                I neglected to say that the transformation of the soul is only possible if the client wills it. The therapy never goes beyond the will of someone. If a client just wants to rid themselves of anxiety, or smoking, and does not wish to penetrate the depths of their soul and subconscious mind, then they will be healed of the anxiety or smoking, but will continue in the same consciousness as before…well, they will change somewhat from the amount of therapy they have, but not to the degree of real transformation.

              • peacesinger says:

                I understand what you are saying about healing. There is a science behind this type of work called epigenetics, if you are interested. Google “Bruce Lipton” or “Dawson Church” for good explanations. But, beside that, you’re so right that it will not work unless the person is open to making the internal shifts. The subconscious is enormous compared to the conscious mind. Much can be suppressed there, which can lead to behavior patterns that we didn’t even know were possible for us.

                Techniques to access the subconscious are as old as the hills, but have been lost to Western Culture due to our belief in conventional medicine and the primacy of material existence.

                I’m really glad for you that you have found a therapist who is gifted in accessing the deeper levels. Sometimes talking doesn’t do it because so much of our pain is not stored verbally.

                For your readers who don’t have access to this particular healer, there are self help techniques that work at the level of the subconscious that are virtually free, if you are willing spend the time learning them. Some that I recommend are Heartmath, Emotional Freedom Technique, and mindfulness meditation.

                Transformation is possible, as Alethea has said.

                Much love and healing to your all.

              • Alethea says:

                “… you’re so right that it will not work unless the person is open to making the internal shifts.”

                Peace singer, one internal shift that you need to work on, is knowing the difference between cognitive dissonance and a person’s God-given free will that is determined by their choice for self, or for love.

                You also need to stop associating factual truths with someone “condemning” others.

              • Alethea says:

                Peace Singer, another thing…it appears to me by your comments that you have the notion that no one is at fault for their choices because everyone suffers from cognitive dissonance –that no one is responsible for their actions, or for their lack of action.

                That is how your comments read.

              • Alethea says:

                To everyone, I do not know these treatments, I do not endorse them. Peace Singer is making conscious conclusions about the science behind what my therapist does, merely by reading a couple of my comments. Peace Singer has no idea what my therapist does, nor the science behind it.

                It is also dangerous to try self-hypnosis unless you are a trained person in such areas. Please do not try your own form of “self-help” therapy when dealing with the subconscious mind because you could make yourself far worse. It would be like trying to do surgery on yourself to remove your own appendix.

              • peacesinger says:

                Alethea, apparently you are referring to your own “factual truths.” Also, I said “cognitive distortion” not cognitive dissonance. Those are different processes.

              • Alethea says:

                I read it as cognitive dissonance yesterday, because that description correlates with what we have been discussing. Cognitive distortion doesn’t have much to do with what you were using it as in the subject at hand. You said:

                “The term that is generally used for people who “convince themselves they didn’t see what they saw, hear what they heard, or know what they know” is cognitive distortion.”

                The above describes cognitive dissonance, not distortion.

                But either way, I stand by what I said. Stop slapping terms on what is often just simply people making selfish decisions.

              • Alethea says:

                and the factual truths I am referring to, are research cases, cases of people in the news, well-known court cases, and my own case.

          • little nel says:

            There are things in this life that are Sacred and those things do give us true healing and draw us closer to God. I know this to be true.

            Thanks for the reminder, Alethea.

          • little nel says:

            “That is a pretty powerful statement and probably caused some strong emotional turmoil in you.”

            Yes. Early in my therapy I was verbally assaulted by a screaming self-stated lesbian who ripped me a new asshole for being traumatized by the sexual abuse by a same sex abuser. She even accused me of being a closet homosexual who needed to “get in touch with my true feelings.”

            It was hideous as she was ridiculing me for “seeking therapy” for something that was not that serious in her mind.

  4. little nel says:

    “Dottie was the leader.”

    Am I to believe that Jerry was “lead” by Dottie to rape little boys in his home? Is that his way of saying that Dottie could have stopped him from raping little boys in the basement or was he spreading the blame? “It was the woman you gave me, God, she gave me the fruit and I ate”

    Just tell Jerry to stop raping little boys, Dottie, like Joe Paterno did, in a humane and educated way, and Jerry will never rape a child again. Yeah, a nice and neatly wrapped fantasy to alleviate the fear of exposure and the consequences of a criminal, tacky, public trial.

  5. Michelle says:

    I understand what you are trying to say peacesinger, but I think it is a bit unrealistic to expect a society to change as a whole and gain compassion for these perpetrators. This is the same society that condemns upstanding gay citizens and demonizes them and doesn’t want them to have any civil liberties in this country? Are those the same people you want to have compassion for child molesters? I want first children to be heard! I liked the way the DA put it when she talked to the media immediately following the announcement of the guilty verdict in the Sandusky case. She said, “Let it be known that the Commonwealth of Pennslyvania believes children.”

    • peacesinger says:

      I certainly agree with you about children being heard! The way children are treated in these legal cases can magnify the trauma considerably and is unconscionable. That has to change. But what I have meant by everyone being in the same boat is that what happens to one group affects the other. In order to have this extremely punitive system, most often the children involved raked through the system as well. This needs to change. Its a shame that those young men in the Sandusky case couldn’t have been spared the grief and horror of testifying. But that’s what you get if you want extremely punitive results. There must be a better way to do this.

      And no, I don’t think I’m being unrealistic about society changing. About 8 or 9 years ago a lesbian friend was bemoaning the fact that she would never be able to get married. I said, “I bet in 10 years gay marriage will be commonplace.” Look at how many options there are now! There’s still a lot of change to be made, but social change does happen.

      If you want children to get more compassion, other pieces of the puzzle need to change. I don’t think it will be in anything like 10 years from now, but we have to start somewhere.

  6. PDD says:

    I totally agree with the quote: “people sometimes convince themselves they didn’t see what they saw, hear what they heard, or know what they know. If you can convince yourself it didn’t happen, then you can convincingly say you don’t know anything.”

    As I mentioned in a different post: I’m not at all surprised by DS’s behavior. My father showed (shows) this exact behavior regarding my mother. Not at all a surprise to me….. My father (and sister) have drunk the koolaide and convinced themselves….

    • Alethea says:

      People convince themselves of what they want to be convinced of. It is a willful ignorance. We see and hear with the mind, not the eyes and ears.

      It is a matter of self-convenience, which is evil. The self is evil.

      • peacesinger says:

        The term that is generally used for people who “convince themselves they didn’t see what they saw, hear what they heard, or know what they know” is cognitive distortion. We all do it. Its like if you were trying to lose weight and you said to yourself, “Oh, that piece of chocolate cake won’t hurt.” Then you eat it. You have used a cognitive distortion to justify breaking your own boundaries, meaning the rules of your diet. There are many kinds of cognitive distortions and you can google the phrase on the internet to see what they are.

        If cognitive distortions are only used by the “evil” self, and we all use cognitive distortions, doesn’t that mean that we all have an “evil” self? I believe that we do. But what I wonder is what is happening inside someone who would break such an incredibly sacred boundary as the care and well-being of children to become an abuser. Alethea, what do you think? Or anyone else?

        • Alethea says:

          Peacesinger, there is quite a difference between a piece of chocolate cake and child rape.

          However, telling one’s self “Oh that piece of cake won’t hurt” is like saying, “Oh all those extra baths my husband gives my five-year old girl are no big deal.” This is saying, “after-all, the baths he gives her gives ME the extra time I want to read a book or to get my hair done, or to watch my favorite TV show.”

          It is the SELF seeing what it wants to see for self-convenience. Just like the cake is the SELF wanting to be self-satisfied.

          When a person uses their denial system for self-convenience or self-satisfaction, it goes against love. It serves the flesh and it can sometimes serve an abuser because he is given a green light to continue his actions with a child.

          No one knows what is “happening inside a person,” even the person themselves does not truly know without penetrating the subconscious mind. That is why conventional therapies do not work. The psychiatrist or psychologist merely makes conclusions about the person. Or the client and the therapist together make their own conscious conclusions about what is wrong and why the client does things. People have no idea what power the unconscious mind has, and how much we repress in order to survive in life, and to maintain relationships, and in order to not have to face pain and suffering we have endured.

          But there is also the love-consciousness of each person that helps dictate how they will behave. The soul lays its own seeds for good or for evil. What do I mean by this?

          This Native American teaching gives a good example: A Cherokee spiritual man is teaching his grandson about life. He says to the boy, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil, the other is good. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

          The grandson thinks about it for a minute and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

          The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”

          • peacesinger says:

            I’ve heard that story, and it is a good one. The point I was trying to make with the chocolate cake is that cognitive distortion is a normal process. Likely, for some these distortions becomes tools to lock in certain thoughts to rationalize offending behavior. Of course, much of this must come from the subconscious mind, since most people would not truly consciously do something they know will result in severe damage to others and cause them to lose their families and the life they built over many years, now would they? There is certainly something more powerful going on here than chocolate cake and all the condemnation you want to throw at it (or even lifelong jail sentences) is not going to make it go away. Another monkey wrench in the system, of course, is that much sexual offending results from physiological addiction. The answer to most addictions is spiritual (a la the 12 steps).

            There will always be another offender unless we focus our energy on creative solutions. Condemnation is not the answer, but it seems it is a useful tool for you to heal…

            • Alethea says:

              Wow! Peace singer, you will never make any progress towards bettering our world if you continue to ignore the self-convenient, self-serving, self-righteous, self-gratifying part of all human beings…this includes mothers.

              The truth about human selfishness is not synonymous with condemnation.

              “..since most people would not truly consciously do something they know will result in severe damage to others and cause them to lose their families and the life they built over many years, now would they?”

              Of course they do! Human beings do it every day. Women do it all the time in marriages where they have a nice home and a nice car. They have nice things or a guy they love over anyone else in the world, even their own children. They sacrifice their children to a child sexual abuser so they can keep the paychecks coming in, or to keep their man. Are you really so unaware of these countless cases?

              It is the CONSCIOUS WILL of those women that makes that choice. Do not excuse them by using psychological labels for what is often simply a matter of self-survival and self-comfort –even at the expense of a child.

              • peacesinger says:

                You want to talk about women who “ignore” signs that a child is being harmed. From your view of things, apparently you are taking the “guilty by association” and “guilty until proven innocent” approach. This would make sense given the enormous sense of betrayal you must feel, as well as the fact that your memories are filtered through the views of a child. You probably think that Dottie must have known everything and that she was protecting her lifestyle by letting these boys suffer. I’m sure many people think that.

                I don’t know what happened with Dottie. I don’t know the layout of their home or where she was at the time these things occurred. I don’t know what she was thinking, but I don’t think that Dottie is so powerful or all-knowing.

                Clearly, Sandusky got some kind of “kick” out of what he did. I don’t dare speculate on that! But most probably he was a pedophile and a psychopath. Quite often psychopaths rise in the ranks because they are good at what they do and are effective at intimidating and manipulating others to do what they want. Approximately 4% of the general population are psychopaths. I have worked with a few and you’d better believe that there are plenty of them in our government. Usually what happens on the job is that these people are protected because they are good at what they do, despite the fact that they have “victims” in the workplace. People come out of these workplaces damaged and no one cares because they are not part of “the group” anymore. Penn State, indeed, was guilty of ignoring very direct evidence that there was a problem. They were told by an eye witness and they ignored it.

                I’ll tell you from my own experience that it is unfair to assume that someone knows what is going on just because they are married to the person doing it. I can’t say I didn’t have any inklings during the offense period. I did, but it was more on the order of “something’s wrong but I don’t know what it is.” Never in a million years would I have suspected what was actually going on. Its really like a jigsaw puzzle, having a few pieces and not knowing what the picture is. Your assumptions about what people knew or should have known paints a very broad stroke, Alethea. Just because YOU think they should have known something doesn’t mean they are guilty of anything.

                And be careful about speaking before Congress or whatever you have done. Don’t assume they are on your side. Those people play very serious power games. They are very willing to take advantage of you. So many of these sex offender laws are given names that no one can vote against (because who would vote against a law that is named after a dead or injured child) and are shoved through in short periods of time so that lawmakers don’t have time to thoroughly consider them.

                These laws are not about compassion for children or people who have been harmed. Were services for victims improved after the federal registration act–ie, Adam Walsh Act– was set into motion? No, those laws are not about concern for victims or even preventing crimes. The big sex offender laws are about oppression and power. There is no evidence that these laws have saved any children or protected anyone. Each one is about further eroding the civil rights of offenders.

                You may think this is a good thing. Think again. This summer a law (I believe it was called Child Protect) was debated in the House. Sounds good, right? Well, what it was really about was trying to make it Federal law to make all sex offenders “guilty until proven innocent.” Perhaps you think that this means that the child will be listened to and believed because it is the law. Think again.

                Usually, there are several weeks for lawmakers to review anything that is going to be debated. This law was presented only 3 weeks in advance. Few people were able to read it in time. The real problem with this law is that it would set a legal precedent. Once something like that is passed for one group, sex offenders, its not a far reach for the civil rights of the next “America’s Most Hated” group to lose their civil rights. And that could be anybody. It could be you or it could be me. Presently, our whole legal system is based on the concept that everyone is Innocent until proven guilty. To change that even for one group is a very slippery slope for the whole country.

                So you think it couldn’t get worse than what you experienced as a child? Well, this is worse because child victims (Adam, Megan, Jacob, Jessica…) are being used to manipulate the public into eroding civil rights and placing more and more power and money into the hands of a select few. (Did you know that John Walsh was paid $500,000 to lobby for the Adam Walsh Act? Did you know that states are privatizing civil commitment and it will become a business with profits based on the number of inmates “served”?)

                Alethea, I know that what you are doing is very well intentioned. I don’t want to deter you from your mission of providing validation to people who are hurting. But I do want to make the point that this issue of sex offense, which we are all mixed up in to a greater or lesser extent, has become much bigger than our personal stories. The paradox is that it is those of us who have personal stories are the ones who are going to fix this. We can’t count on lawmakers. And it can only be fixed when people from all sides of the issue get together, work things through to come up with creative solutions to meet the needs of all, and stop the ever widening circle of harm.

                Now, that would be true compassion.

  7. kristy says:

    AMEN, Sister!

  8. peacesinger says:

    Well, you know, apology is good for the soul. Someday, each one of us will look into our hearts and see how little compassion we have had for others. We will see the things that we refused to look at before. And we will stop judging others for their human frailties.

    One of the greatest principles of becoming peaceful is to be able to separate the person from the act. The act of child molestation is done mostly by people who have grown up with a tremendous amount of pain. I would suspect that having a physiological arousal and sexual preference that society labels as monstrous would be a pretty painful thing to live with. This is not to say that those who indulge in this are not fully responsible for their acts. They are. However, when a society condemns you coming right out of the box (or, rather at your own innocent awakening of your sexual awareness) you have to find some way to cope–suppression (which is extremely toxic), reframing to make yourself feel OK about yourself, coming up with ways to relieve the pressure of sexual feelings and urges that can NEVER be acted on.

    For some, the extreme pressure of those urges eventually comes out as offending behavior. It would be easy to see how someone who is suppressing their sexual urges would have ways to explain their choices that would create an atmosphere in a marriage where confrontation would be difficult. I am glad that Mr. Rolle has seen wives who have been able to cope with this to the point of bringing sexual abuse out in the open. That is probably the rare case and maybe due to bad marriages in the first place. There are many reasons why Dottie Sandusky would not have known and I think it is cruel to judge her so quickly.

    Wouldn’t we be better off to use our time and energy to focus on ways to prevent child sexual abuse like education and support? What if our real concern here was the reduction of human suffering rather than creating more suffering in a vain attempt to soothe our battered egos?

    Just think, if we were really concerned with reducing human suffering as our primary goal, we would have creative ways to help people who have a sexual urge toward children. We would actually be able to support them to NOT act out. We wouldn’t be wasting our financial and emotional resources on useless social tools, such as a public sex offender registry and incarceration instead of community management. We would pay attention to facts, not myths (For example, recidivism rates are in the range of 5-15% not 70%, which is the number that has been flaunted for years by people who want to manipulate you for their own benefit.) We would have strong, supportive programs for victims and families that would help them to heal. And we would have a great reduction in the number of children harmed to the benefit of all!

    Wow! How do we do this? Well, you need to start with compassion for yourself. It is easy to separate yourself from someone who you judge has done something unconscionable. But this helps no one. The truth is that we are all in this together. Realization of this IS compassion. To have compassion, you must forgive yourself first. And for what? I would suggest that you forgive yourself for rushing to judgement on someone you don’t know, who you don’t know what the actual circumstances were, and who has done nothing wrong. You’ve done a good job analyzing her. Now try to put yourself in her shoes–truly! Not as you, but as her. (Reread paragraph one.) When you’ve done that, try writing your blog again. I suspect it would be quite different.

    • Alethea says:

      Peacesinger,

      I get a little uncomfortable with people who spend more than a few seconds telling others to “stop judging others for their human frailties” when it comes to child sexual abusers and their supportive wives. This is the second time you have tried to gear those who read your comments (or maybe it’s just geared towards me) to stop judging those who harm children in a serious manner. You must realize that you sound like a suspicious person when you do that.

      “I would suspect that having a physiological arousal and sexual preference that society labels as monstrous would be a pretty painful thing to live with. This is not to say that those who indulge in this are not fully responsible for their acts. They are. However, when a society condemns you coming right out of the box…”

      Do you feel that child rape is monstrous? Or are you merely talking about the sexual *attraction* to children?

      “There are many reasons why Dottie Sandusky would not have known and I think it is cruel to judge her so quickly.”

      Any woman who defends her convicted husband and calls his victims liars and manipulators, is defending herself for what she knew and did nothing about.

      My “judgement” of Dottie Sandusky is based on my own mother, my own personal reaction to her protection of my father, and on the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of other survivors who have experienced the same exact thing with their own mothers and how it feels for the victims when someone knows or suspects child sexual abuse is happening and they willfully turn a blind eye. It is called reckless indifference to the suffering of others.

      I also base myself in the statistics which show that the Dottie Sanduskys of the world turn a blind eye in order to keep their husband’s paychecks coming in, and so they don’t have to have sex anymore.

      You spout a lot about peace and compassion. How about compassion for the victims whose screams were ignored while they were being raped? How about compassion for the victims, who in many cases, will serve a lifetime sentence of pain and suffering while their perpetrator is protected, defended and told they are okay because ‘after-all, they were born with a desire for children,’ or because, ‘after-all, they can’t control their urges of sexual attraction to children.’

      Alethea

      • Alethea says:

        Peacesinger’s comments read like this to me: “My father raped me at age seven on a cold bathroom floor, but I should have said, ‘it’s okay daddy, you just could not control your sexual urges.’

        • peacesinger says:

          I’m sorry you feel the need to make a comment like that. That has nothing to do with what I am saying. My concern is with stopping child sexual abuse before it happens, not waiting for victims to show up. In my scenario, daddy would have been educated on the effects of child sexual abuse, developed empathy for victims and learned to manage his urges before there was any child to be in the bathroom with. In order to get to that point in society we need to have compassion. Compassion means that we realize that we are all in the same boat. When we start to look at it from that perspective (instead of making fun of each other’s thoughts), we will be on our way to creative solutions that work for everyone. And part of that solution would be to acknowledge that a fairly large segment of society (estimated as much as 1 in 5 men) are sexually aroused by children. People say that pedophilia cannot be cured. That is correct, because it is not a disease. It is a sexual orientation. It is not a choice. It can no more be cured than homosexuality. Its not going to go away just because we hate it. Society must find a way to help people manage it so that children can be protected. And this starts at the individual level. Making fun of me because I see things differently is not helpful. No child is protected by this sort of thing. No victim heals by separating themselves from others who do no agree with them.

          By the way, in another comment you stated that victim’s brains are affected by child sexual abuse. This is true. It is equally true that the brain is plastic throughout life. There are specific techniques that can counter some of this. Look at http://www.rickhansen.com. He’s got some good CD’s.

          Best wishes.

          • Alethea says:

            “I’m sorry you feel the need to make a comment like that.”

            If you were honest with yourself, you would have written: “I’m sorry that what I have been trying to convey makes it seem like I have more compassion for perpetrators than victims, and that perpetrators just can’t help themsleves.”

            “Compassion means that we realize that we are all in the same boat.”

            Compassion means to sympathize with someone else’s pain. Do not place me “in the same boat” with a child rapist. The vast majority of child sexual abusers were sexually abused themselves as kids. Most of us, who were sexually abused as children, made better choices and used our free will to stop ourselves from becoming like our abusers. The vast majority of child sexual abusers HAVE NO COMPASSION. They express no compassion or sorrow for their victims. They are only sorry they got got. Once in a while, an abuser will admit to what he or she has done, and will express real grief. But that “Peacesinger” is rare.

            If you want to educate others about compassion, why don’t you teach offenders how to admit to what they have done, to feel pain and sorrow for their acts, and to offer a sincere apology to their victims? Now that would be commendable work.

            “Making fun of me because I see things differently is not helpful.”

            Please point out where I “made fun” of you. I recall vividly that I told you that you sounded like a child abuser yourself, or someone who is sexually attracted to children. That is not making fun of you. That is speaking my mind, and unless you can convince me otherwise, I stand by my statement.

            • little nel says:

              To Peacesinger,

              I am not in the same boat with child rapists! I had never sexually abused a child in any way or had any sexual desire for children!

              “waiting for victims to show up?” Only a cold callous person would believe that victims “show up” intentionally! We don’t want to tell the world that we were abused against our will with no power to stop it!

              Education does not stop a perp. Jerry Sandusky was a prime example of that. A college teacher and coach who knew how to manipulate, confuse, and connive his victims.

          • Alethea says:

            Oh, and by the way, if my father didn’t get it the first time… when I was screaming and crying, bleeding and terrified that I was dying…then gee, I wonder how your educating him would have made it any different?

            Human beings need to change their entire consciousness to truly transform. Your education theory is useless without transformation of the soul.

            • little nel says:

              “Your education theory is useless without transformation of the soul.” A true statement!

              A cold-hearted rapist, even when educated, is still as cold as ice while his child victim is screaming, crying, bleeding and terrified of death.

              The only thing that stopped Jerry Sandusky was arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. His internal thoughts and feelings are still as cold as ice towards his victims, he will repeat offend if released.

            • peacesinger says:

              I agree with you 100% about transformation of the soul. For many sex offenders (not all, of course, because people get arrested as sex offenders for all kinds of crazy behavior sometimes not even related to sex) the change would have to go that deep. In order for that to happen, there need to be creative solutions. I’d be interested in any and all ideas on how that could happen! Thanks in advance.

              P.S. I am so sorry for what you have been through. The boat that you and I are in is that we both want these kinds of things to stop. No one should have to go through what either of us has experienced.

      • PDD says:

        Alethea: agreed.

      • little nel says:

        Thank you for that great response to peacesinger, Alethea! You cut through all that bullshit and got to the truth about peace and compassion.

        “How about compassion for the victims who’s screams were ignored while they were being raped?”

        I can’t count the numerous times that I was awakened from sleep by my own screams from a nightmare that was caused by childhood sexual abuse. Plus all the other emotional damage, behaviors that I devised to protect myself from being sexually abused again, and the cost of my therapy in time and money spent.

        All that prolonged pain, extended suffering, and uninterupted agony in my own life because someone couldn’t control their urges of sexual attraction to a same-sex 9 year-old girl.

        • Alethea says:

          I have also been wakened by my own screaming. For me, it was crying out for my mother while I was being raped. She did nothing.

          This is one of the reasons that I feel so much of a connection to the victim of Jerry Sandusky who said he cried out to Dottie, who was upstairs while he was being raped. He said, “It must have been a soundproof basement.”

          I feel that he was saying, “She had to have heard me, there is no way in hell she could not have heard me scream.”

          • little nel says:

            “She had to have heard me, there is no way in hell she could not have heard me scream.”

            OMG, Alethea, I just remembered that screamed for help in that county home but all the other matrons must have been deaf, dumb, and blind like Dottie Sandusky.

            When I cried for my mother they told me that I had a “bad” mother who wasn’t coming to help me. I was stuck with no way out of that compound for unwanted pets.

            • Alethea says:

              Little Nel, many of your comments make my heart so sad for you. You must have felt kidnapped in that home. You must have felt like a kidnapped sex-slave with no one to turn to while you were being abused and tortured.

              It is interesting that the school/home has been wiped off the map! Have you ever tried to contact or find any other prisoners of that horrid place? I wonder how they are doing?

              Sounds like a documentary film should be made about that place.

              By the way, my therapist has just moved to Los Angeles. If you ever find yourself feeling like you are stuck in your healing, or cannot heal a certain physical symptom, or heal a certain aspect of your childhood, I will give you her number.

              • little nel says:

                Thank you, Alethea, for your concern, compassion, kindness, and thoughtfulness. I no longer live in Los Angeles.

                Yes, all my efforts have been to no avail as the records of Julia Leythrope Hall have been destroyed. Children must have died in that place for Los Angeles County to have so completely wiped out all the records. It’s bizarre. There must have been deaths of children. I was so thin when I left there that adults who saw me would gasp and say that they had never seen such a skinny kid before. I had no idea what I looked like physically because I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror all I saw was brokenness and pain.

                That sentence “She had to have heard me scream..etc” has hit a nerve with me and triggered some intense feelings and nausea. Something that I had not thought about before and reacted to physically and emotionally. Give me the number, please.

                I need to check this out.

                Only one person in the Probation Dept. ever acknowledged my presence in JLH. He let me in the compound because it was his last day of work before retiring. It took a lot of background checks and promises from me to not sue Los Angeles County.

              • Alethea says:

                I am also certain that children died there.

                “That sentence “She had to have heard me scream..etc” has hit a nerve with me and triggered some intense feelings and nausea. Something that I had not thought about before and reacted to physically and emotionally. Give me the number, please. I need to check this out.”

                I am a little confused about this sentence Little Nel. What number are you talking about? Sorry, I just got kind of lost in the paragraph.

          • little nel says:

            “She did nothing”

            You were aware of her presence at home that day? Did she act like nothing had happened to you when she finally saw you bleeding and shattered?

            I have known of women who found their little girls bleeding and crying in pain because their “man” had raped them and didn’t bother to take them to a doctor or get any medical help for them or call the police, then brag that they kicked the “bum” out of their house, like they did something commendable.

            When my mother came home from a night of dancing and drinking she would fly into a rage and drag us out of bed at 2 A.M. to tell us how we ruined her life. She would make us stand up against a wall while she raged and hit us with her fists. “You are nothing but a millstone around my neck” “You aren’t good for anything, any of you” “I don’t need all this responsibility of you kids” (It was this abusive behavior that annoyed the neighbors and prompted them to call the police).

            • Alethea says:

              My memory is that she held me down and cleaned up the blood.

            • peacesinger says:

              Little Nel, I know you think I have no compassion for you but that is hardly the case. I am saddened and angered that any adult could treat a child like that. Such terrifying abuse! I can see how the Sandusky trial has triggered so much in you and others. God knows, there needs to be a better solution to this that serves the wellbeing of all. Are you familiar with SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) or http://www.stopitnow.org‘s helpline? They have free services that many help you cope with the horror I’m sure you still live with.

              • little nel says:

                To Peacesinger,

                I made a promise to myself that I would not forget the torture that I endured at the hands of people who were paid by the County of Los Angeles to protect me.

                I need to remember that I was treated with contempt because I was too little to defend myself. I also believe that my captors received a sense of empowerment just like Jerry Sandusky.

              • peacesinger says:

                To Little Nel,

                I can’t imagine what it was like to have so much torment so young. Certainly, you had no responsibility in that and you are left with a huge burden of pain.

                You are right that most people get something out of offending against others. Some are true psychopaths. There is nothing that can be done for them except separate them from society. But those are the very few. Most offenders can be helped to change their ways. Despite the cultural mythology about sex offender treatment, it is actually highly effective.

                My wish is that our society will start to see what horrible and extensive damage is done to so many through the abuse of children. And, through creative problem solving and a willingness to look deeply at ourselves and transform our darkness (as we have been discussing in this thread), we will find ways to stop it before it starts….before any more children have to go through what you have been through! I believe anything is possible.

                I hope you are finding the help that you need. You seem to have tremendous courage! Many blessings to you.

                Peacesinger

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