THE BLOG

Dorothy Sandusky Is Just as Much a Monster

06/26/2012 12:16 EDT | Updated 08/26/2012 05:12 EDT
AP

Evil can come in many forms. It can come in the likes of Stalin or Hitler, or it can come in the gentle grey softness of a grandmother like Dottie Sandusky.

While the world's focus has been on former Pennsylvania State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was very recently convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse, we have all-but-failed to notice the second Sandusky monster.

Dorothy Sandusky, who has been married to the now infamous pedophile for more than 40 years, was allegedly home during some of the attacks. Sandusky's accusers claim to have been raped in the basement of his Pennsylvania home while Dottie puttered away upstairs.

Is it possible that this woman had absolutely no idea of the atrocities being committed below? Did she truly never even suspect that something horrible might be happening or that it was peculiar that her husband chose to spend so much time alone with these young football players?

It is difficult to imagine that Dottie Sandusky had no suspicions, no inkling that something was amiss.

Granted, pedophiles tend to be quite charming. They are often "family men" who are married with children of their own and are inclined to work with kids. From afar, Jerry Sandusky was a seemingly wonderful man who volunteered much of his time mentoring troubled youth.

In reality, he was a cunning predator who preyed on vulnerable kids and exploited them in the worst way possible.

If we grant Dottie Sandusky the benefit of the doubt and concede that she was truly in the dark the entire time, that is still no excuse for her testifying on her husband's behalf.

When there are so many victims, so many detailed accounts and even a witness to one of the incidents, it is unforgivable that Dottie Sandusky would agree to take the stand and try her best to make Jerry Sandusky appear innocent.

The defence tried in vain to explain away the abuse allegations by suggesting that the victims were motivated by greed, hoping to cash in on a financial settlement.

Part of the problem with male-on-male abuse cases is that it is incredibly difficult for boys to come forward and admit that they were sexually abused by a man. Besides the shame that is typically felt by victims of molestation or rape, there is an even greater stigma attached in these cases. One need only look to Sheldon Kennedy or Theo Fleury to see that male victims often feel no choice but to keep silent for so long.

The fact that eight young men chose to come forward and recount the horrific abuse they suffered at the hands of Jerry Sandusky should be enough to silence Dottie Sandusky forever. The fact that her own adopted son, Matt, has made similar abuse allegations against his father should leave little doubt in anyone's mind -- even hers.

Dorothy Sandusky owes the world an apology. She should apologize for being so aloof, so unaware of the goings-on in her own house. She should apologize for not immediately filing for divorce when the prosecution presented such an overwhelming case.

Indeed, her very existence helped Jerry Sandusky to be the villain that he is and added to the number of victims. After all, most reasonable parents would be leery of sending their child off to a single man's home. But knowing that the man is married and that his wife will be present helps to ease any concerns a parent might feel.

That monsters like Jerry Sandusky exist is a sad reality. Sadder still is the women who protect these men.

Hamilton knows too well the scars such abuse can leave on generations of children. James Alfred Cooper, dubbed the country's worst pedophile, was allowed to repeatedly abuse at least six children over a number of years. He went through a few wives. At least two of the wives knew or suspected that Cooper was a pedophile.

One of the ex-wives even went so far as to beg her 13-year-old daughter to "reconsider testifying against Jim." She was concerned about the embarrassment and "disgrace" that the family would face. She was also worried about her divorce settlement, complaining that "this mess has ironically cost me $60,000 in lost settlement money."

Sometimes we see evil in the eyes of a pedophile. Sometimes we see evil in the closed eyes of a recklessly naive wife.

Lydia Lovric is a columnist with The Hamilton Spectator, this article originally appeared there.