Matt Sandusky talks with Oprah

Matt Sandusky voices abuse claims in interview with Oprah

mcarroll@centredaily.comJuly 17, 2014 

Film-Sundance Happy Valley

This photo provided by the A&E Indie Films shows Matt Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, in the documentary film, "Happy Valley," by director Amir Bar-Lev.

AP PHOTO/A&E INDIE FILMS

Matt Sandusky decided to contact the state attorney general’s office with sexual abuse allegations against his adoptive father after watching a victim testify at Jerry Sandusky’s trial.

Sandusky said that seeing Victim 4, one of the young men who testified he was abused by Sandusky, tell his story about grooming and abuse hit too close to home.

“His story was my story,” Matt Sandusky said Thursday in his first prime-time television interview since he came forward with claims that he too was abused by the former Penn State football coach.

Matt Sandusky sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a special aired on her OWN network.

He described the same kind of grooming and abuse that young men recalled at the trial for Sandusky, who was convicted in June 2012 and sentenced to serve 30-60 years in prison. Those charges did not include counts related to Matt Sandusky.

There was the bedtime routine of abuse that started with tickling and led to sexual acts, Matt Sandusky said.

Grooming allegedly started when he was 9, with Jerry Sandusky putting his hand on the boy’s leg while driving to Penn State football games. It is a similar story told by others at the trial.

Winfrey asked how he knows the account he heard Victim 4 give at the trial was actually something that happened to Matt Sandusky as well.

“For me to come here, to speak with you, to speak on national television, knowing I’m going to be attacked, knowing my wife and children will be attacked for that — there is no reason for me to lie,” Sandusky said. “I’m coming forward to help.”

When asked whether he regrets coming forward with the allegations, Matt Sandusky said his life would have been easier if he would have remained quiet.

“If you keep your mouth shut, you are protected,” he said. “... It would have been better for me to kept it to myself, to carry it myself. I truly believe it would have been better for my wife, my children.”

Matt Sandusky told Winfrey he was among the men who were paid a combined $60 million by Penn State to settle claims that they were molested by Jerry Sandusky.

But the man said he didn’t come forward for money.

The interview addressed a number of other topics.

On his adoptive mother, Dottie Sandusky, who has been steadfast in her support of her husband’s innocence, and who, in an NBC interview, accused Matt Sandusky of lying: “For me, I find it very hard for someone to have been married to someone for so long ... in my mind, I find it hard to believe she would not have had some inclination.”

On whether Jerry Sandusky loved his victims: “I think he thought he was. I think he believed the things he was doing to us, that was love to him. That was him taking care of us.

“It’s an illness, and I think in his own mind he doesn’t see what he did to us as hurtful, traumatic and shameful. He believes he was giving us so much.”

Matt Sandusky previously broke his silence in January, when he shared his story in “Happy Valley,” a 100-minute-long film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

“My role in the film was to share the perspective of a survivor, to give survivors a voice, “ Sandusky said at the time in an interview with the Centre Daily Times.

“There were many victims in this case who came forward for the trial — I have immense respect for their strength — and because of those guys, I had the courage to come forward to the authorities to tell what I had to tell — the truth,” he said.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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