A closer look: Jerry Sandusky's family

NEED TO KNOW
  • Ex-coach is married with 6 adopted children
  • Son: I have no idea where I'd be without him
  • Grand jury: Sandusky found his victims through his charity
A closer look: Jerry Sandusky's family

"Jerry is a very good, Godly, Christian man."

"He's willing to do anything to help anybody who asks for help. He doesn't seem to know how to say no."

"This is a case about a sexual predator who's accused of using his position within the community and the university to prey on numerous young boys for more than a decade."

Three quotes, all about the same man: Jerry Sandusky.

That first one came from a pastor and close friend back in 1999. The second is from his wife from the same time. The last is from Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, just a few days ago.

Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator accused of molesting eight young boys, blended in flawlessly in his central Pennsylvania community for decades: husband, father, football coach, humanitarian. From the outside, he was a hard-nosed football coach with a soft spot for family and at-risk children.

Read: Shocking details from the Penn State grand jury report

Jerry Sandusky, who denies these allegations and is currently free on $100,000 bail, is a married father of six grown children. All of them were adopted by him and his wife Dorothy.

His son E.J. once told the Reading Eagle newspaper that his father was "a very genuine guy. You would think he's some kind of a nut. He's very outgoing. He wants to have fun. He's a little kid. He really enjoys life to the fullest."

Upon Sandusky's retirement from Penn State in 1999, another of his sons, Matt, told Sports Illustrated, "He gave me someone to talk to, a father figure I never had. I have no idea where I'd be without him and Mom. I don't even want to think about it. And they've helped so many kids besides me."

Matt Sandusky is referring to the The Second Mile, the foundation started by Sandusky in 1977 to help troubled teens, which has become a statewide charity that raises seven-digit figures annually and has reportedly helped tens of thousands of children.

Sadly, the grand jury's presentment on Sandusky alleges he found most of his young victims through The Second Mile. All eight victims identified in the grand jury report first met Sandusky because they were participating in his charity.

"Through The Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys," it reads. "Many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations."

That same Reading Eagle article reported Sandusky began working with children as a teenager, when he was a counselor at his parents' recreation center.

Between that early work, his career spent coaching young men, he and Dorothy's six adoptions and his commitment to The Second Mile, the narrative on Sandusky had always been that he was a hard-working, light-hearted family man.

But that résumé of reaching out and being involved in the lives of so many children all reads much differently today.

Back to the pastor, John Schaeffer. He was quoted as saying of his friend, "Football is certainly Jerry's livelihood. He has tremendous pride in Penn State football. But he is also a humanitarian. He believes the future is in young people and somebody better reach out and help them."

 

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