Caseworker who triggered Sandusky investigation honored

mdawson@centredaily.comOctober 25, 2012 

— The caseworker who first interviewed Aaron Fisher, a teenager who said Jerry Sandusky abused him, was honored Thursday by Clinton County officials for her work.

Jessica Dershem, a caseworker for Clinton County’s Children and Youth Services, spent an hour interviewing Fisher in November 2008 after the mother became frustrated with school officials’ hesitance to report Sandusky to authorities. She was the first to believe in Fisher, and that is what triggered the initial investigation into abuse allegations against Sandusky.

“You could just tell,” Dershem said about believing Fisher because of his emotions and his demeanor. “It wasn’t something he was making up.”

Dershem later interviewed Sandusky in January 2009 and ended up testifying at Sandusky’s trial in June.

Dershem was honored at the Clinton County commissioners meeting this morning and recognized by CYS Director Gerald Rosamilia.

“Jess excelled in her role as the primary caseworker responsible for interviewing the victim and the perpetrator,” he said.

“The expertise with which she presented her testimony played a key role in placing a serial child molester in prison for the balance of his life.”

People in the Lock Haven community are planning a rally Saturday morning at Central Mountain High School to demand answers from school officials in their handling over Fisher’s abuse allegations.

Fisher’s mother, Dawn Daniels, said she and her son will speak at the rally.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT

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