Matt Sandusky, the adopted son of Jerry who first alleged abuse during his trial in 2012, unveiled the details of it to Oprah Winfrey on her network last night, saying that Jerry’s “ritual” began at bedtime.
Matt discussed the first time he met Jerry at a camp, saying he believed Jerry “chose” him for a reason in adoption. A particularly unsettling detail from Matt is his view that Jerry’s grooming began from the first day he met him when he was only nine years old. He said Jerry had a bedtime ritual — from the outside, he said, the Sandusky family looked normal and caring, but bedtime was different. Matt also revealed that he told Jerry he “was starting to remember things” before the trial after having lied about abuse to the grand jury and police, so he could not testify in his trial.
Below are some excerpts from the interview. They are graphic:
Oprah: Do you believe he chose you for a reason?
Matt: Yes, I mean, absolutely. He chose me, he picked me out from a camp of hundreds of other children, he picked me out. By whatever means he did that, I’m not sure.
Oprah: When did the manipulation start?
Matt: Quite honestly, it started from the very beginning. From the very first time, you know, nine years old, whenever…I mean really it started from the very first moment he met me. And he had started doing what he ended up doing. That’s where he started his process.
Oprah: The grooming process.
Matt: The grooming process, correct. And so the very first thing that I ever noticed that he did was when he picked he up from the football game for the first time is he’d reach over and his hand would be on your knee.
Oprah: While he’s driving the car?
Matt: While he’s driving, yeah. And it was, again, coming from where I came from, you didn’t even touch each other, you didn’t even hug. We didn’t hug each other to show love, we didn’t kiss each other, we didn’t tell each other, “we love you.” So, a person putting their hand on my knee, especially a grown man, who has no relation to me, was awkward and weird, but I thought maybe that’s just the way his family was.
Oprah: When did it start to get, so, in your words, awkward?
Matt: The process had, I mean, he just progressed through going up my leg at summer camps, being in your shorts, throwing you, grabbing on your genitals as he throws you. Eventually, I would come over and play racquetball with him, and this is probably 12 years old, and he’s progressed to, after playing racquetball, we’d have to take a shower. That’s just mandatory, you’d have to get the sweat off you, you’d have to get clean. During those times is when a lot the sexual abuse happened, and that goes into everything. It started with wrestling. Wrestling was something he liked to do at a very young age. He was blowing on your stomach and lifting up your shirt and putting you in weird positions, and he would just lay on you…and he would be aroused. Even at that age, I thought, in my mind, the only thing I could tell myself was he was gay, and I wanted him off me…I didn’t know what to call it, but I just knew that it wasn’t right, at that point. I didn’t want it, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I had to take it.
Oprah: You felt, as an adult man, you had no alternative other than to testify as a character witness?
Matt: …That was the only choice I had. So I went [to his house]that Sunday night because I knew that I could not do it. The only thing I could do was throw myself at his graces and ask him to not call me [as a witness]. I went to his house, Dottie was there also, so I asked her to please leave the room because I needed to speak to him alone. And I told him, you cannot call me. I’m starting to remember things. I’m remember things that happened to me. You cannot call me as a witness, and I went there because I was not going to perjure myself again. I had perjured myself for the grand jury…if he were to get me on the stand, I would tell the truth.
Matt and his wife have started a charity for child sexual abuse awareness.