Analyzing Child Sex Abuse

Monday, prosecutors called Jerry Sandusky a “serial pedophile.”

Defense attorneys said Sandusky is innocent, a man falsely accused who simply loves kids.

During the first day of testimony, a man in his late 20s took the stand and told jurors, the judge, and a courtroom packed with people that Jerry Sandusky gave him opportunities and gifts and repeatedly sexually abused him.

“Kids particularly are targeted for child sexual abuse that have some kind of need to begin with, though it happens to all kinds of kids and is very frequent, but think about kids that are already in trouble because they’re acting out or don’t have family supports,” said Janet MacKay.

MacKay is the director of the Victims’ Resource Center in Luzerne County. She said victims of child sexual abuse are often ashamed, especially boys, and keep silent for years. Some, she said, are silent forever.

In court, letters were shown and excerpts read aloud. Prosecutors said Sandusky wrote the love letters to his victim.

“I know that I have made my share of mistakes. However, I hope that I will be able to say I cared.”

“I do think that offenders of children often do think that they love. They are a little mixed up with loving that child and using that love and abusing them,” said MacKay of child sexual offenders.

MacKay said in some cases victims, even if they are adults, will feel intimidated and victimized all over again when forced to testify about sexual abuse.

In a sense she said the alleged victim is put on trial. In other cases, she said, they can feel empowered.

“He’s not abusing them then. He’s sitting there and he’s facing a judge and a whole courtroom of people who are hearing that has happened. So the victim is telling their story to other people and it’s not being silenced anymore.”

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