BELLEFONTE- Some are calling the victims who testified at the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial “heroes.” The verdict declaring Sandusky of 45 of 48 sex abuse charges against him comes after the victims’ ordeals of coming forward and then testifying.
Victim 1, an 18-year-old, recent high school grad from Clinton County cried on the stand last week as he told jurors about Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting him for month after month.
But last night, Jerry Sandusky left the Centre County Courthouse a guilty man and it’s thanks to what that teenager from the Lock Haven area did. He came forward several years ago to authorities at Central Mountain High School, launching this investigation.
What followed was victim after victim finding the strength to share their story. Including another 18 year-old. Victim 9 from Snyder County said he screamed for help while Sandusky repeatedly raped him.
Now 10 victims have justice. Sandusky is guilty and in jail.
“We have a man who is a symbol of the awful horrible things man can do to children,” said attorney Tom Kline He represents Victim 5.
“I think that these young men are really heroes and they have become role models for other victims of childhood abuse,” he added.
In closing arguments, the prosecutor himself even apologized to victims for the pain of making them testify. Now they are being praised.
“This was officially the commonwealth’s case but the commonwealth didn’t have a case without out 8 incredible men who were willing to tell the world about horrific things that were done to them when they were defenseless children and they did it anyway,” said Penn State student Matt Bodenschatz.
He said he is a victim of abuse who was inspired to come forward by the victims in this case. He wrote a column in the Centre Daily Times shortly after Sandusky was arrested to show his support and solidarity with the victims. He organized a support organization to help victims too.
“I owe them for having created the opportunity to be myself for the first time in 28 years. It may sound trite, but I am the real me now and 360 degrees different because of them,” he said, thanking the victims who testified.
For the victims, there was justice at the Centre County Courthouse Friday night and for those who are victims of sexual assault that are still out there possibly inspiration seeing what can happen when you come forward.