Loving a Pedophile

I haven’t had a television since Memorial Day. I got rid of my old Sony, and haven’t gotten around to getting a flat-screen replacement. Last night I knew the Sandusky verdict was imminent. It had to be. The man was guilty, and the jury wouldn’t take long. So I turned to Twitter. I typed in Sandusky. My screen flooded with tweets:

The attorney general is at the courthouse.

The lawyers are there now.

Photos posted of Sandusky leaving his home.

Coach is wearing an unfortunate jacket. (That asshat on Fox news keeps referring to Sandusky as “coach.” This sickens me. It’s the coach bit that gave him access to those boys. So stop calling him “coach,” Shep.)

Sandusky is at the courthouse.

The verdict will not be tweeted until all 48 counts are read and court is adjourned.

Surely he’ll be convicted. Surely the jury won’t OJ us. (Yes, OJ is now a verb.)

Surely he’s given up Penn State for the state pen.

Even his own lawyer says he thinks he’ll be convicted. And then the judge calls him into chambers and issues a gag order.

The verdict is coming out five months to the day after Paterno’s death from cancer.

His adopted son Matt was molested, too.

Dottie testified on his behalf. (Oh, I will get back to Dottie.)

The verdict will be read in twenty minutes. Then fifteen.

Then I flip over to live video of the crowd in front of the courthouse. And back to Twitter.

Any minute now.


Sandusky is being led away to the jail house in handcuffs.

He stood with one hand casually in his left pocket as the verdict was read.

One victim wept.

Sandusky was stoic.

He knew it was coming.

But what about Dottie? What did she know and when did she know it? Public opinion weighs heavily in favor of her knowing what her husband did, was doing, to those boys. How could she not know? It happened in her house. Her basement. Not just once, but dozens of times over a period of years, decades, even. So how could she not know? The wives know. On some level they know. Which means they fucking know.

Case in point. When I was ten or so, we went to visit my grandparents at their house on Lake Huron. The man who lived next door, a Greek, lived there with his wife. I recall their grandchildren often visited when I was there. And he had St. Bernard puppies. He also made homemade wine. My dad loved his wine. So one day, he sent me next door to pick up a bottle of Mr. Greek’s homemade wine. I ran off next door to get the bottle, and he invited me in. He then offered me a taste of the wine. Recall I’m ten. But I tasted the wine anyway. It was sickly sweet. And then he came close. Close enough that I could feel his breath on my cheek. And he started rubbing me on my chest. And breathing on me. As I wriggled away, I saw his wife peering at us from around the corner. She never said a word. She didn’t try to stop him. She just stood and watched. And stayed silent. I escaped his grasp and ran. I ran back to my grandparents’ house and said nothing about what had happened. It felt wrong. But she watched and said nothing. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe I imagined it. I couldn’t tell. No one would believe me. He just rubbed my chest. The wife didn’t stop him. So I kept my mouth shut. Even when my dad made fun of me for running off without the wine because I was seemingly too bashful to go next door and get it.

The wife, having seen everything, stayed silent.

Was she complicit? Was Dottie Sandusky complicit? Was my sister complicit?

My sister?, you say. Yes, my sister is married to a pedophile. When I was 15, her husband, who was then 29, made a pass at me when he was teaching me how to drive out in the country. He kissed me. A full on wet mouth tongue kiss. It was sickening. And I never told a soul for 20 years. My sister knew, though. Or at least she knew something was wrong. She told him he was spending too much time with me, and it needed to stop. He said he was just teaching me how to drive, because my father was largely absent. He was right. I was vulnerable. I thrived on his attention. Who knows what I would have done had he gone farther. But with me, he didn’t go farther. He saved that for his daughter, my niece. How do I know this? She lived with me briefly when she was in her early twenties. And she told me then what her father had done to her. She told me he molested her from the time she was 6 until she was 16 and finally told a school counselor. He was never prosecuted. And my sister stayed with him. She, to this day, has stayed married to him. She didn’t need him to support her. She worked and made a good salary. She could have supported her two daughters just fine. But she kept his secret and never told anyone, and stayed with him. My niece felt betrayed. She felt her mother had chosen her pedophile father over her. And she was right. This was so confusing for my niece that she still let him walk her down the aisle at her wedding. She let her pedophile father give her away. And my sister watched, beaming with pride. When their second daughter married a year later, I didn’t go to the wedding. I couldn’t watch him pretending to be the doting father, again.

How do these women stay with these men? How do they defend them? How do they ignore the horrific things they’ve done? I asked my sister how she slept in the same bed with a man who molested their daughter. She had no answer other than, “Because I love him.”

She loves him. And Dottie loves Jerry. Ain’t love grand?

I wonder if my sister watched the news of the trial, of the conviction. I wonder if she sat in the same room with her pedophile husband and watched a man get sentenced to life in prison for the same crimes her husband has committed. I wonder if she felt any guilt or remorse for selling her daughter out. Like Dottie Sandusky did with those poor boys.

I did feel his conviction was a bit of a consolation. At least one of these monsters will pay for his crimes. I just wish the women would stand up for the children. And not for the perpetrators.


  • I can’t understand it either, how it is possible to stay with a pedophile. To know, and do nothing about it. This “love” is not love. But I don’t know what it is..


    • Maybe the desire to protect their fake little world, the life they’ve constructed, is more important to them than the children who are hurt. I think you’re right though, Bente: it’s not love.


  • I read something very interesting recently. (I’ll try to briefly recap). The article (CNN) stated that pedeophiles are genetically wired toward their sexual attraction to young children. It slated a whole slew of stats and data to support this. They will always be wired this way, no drug, castration, therapy can change that. The dividing line is when they cross it and become molesters..
    That being said women that continue to support men who have molested are quite mentally unstable . There is no way in hell these women can tell me they love these men. Perhaps they love the man he once was (before his dirty secret was exposed) but to continue to love a man that finds sexual pleasure in a child..I’m not buying it.. They are enablers to the nth degree…


    • Lynne, the more I think about this, the more I realize I haven’t done enough. I told only my brothers and my mother what he’d done to me and his daughter. But the fallout was so great, his two daughters were so distraught over this coming out into the open, that I lost not only a sister, but also in large part, the relationship I had with my nieces. So I shut up, and didn’t tell another soul. But I have another niece, the daughter of my brother, who needs to know. She needs to know so she can protect the children she will one day have. And what if she’s been harboring the same secret all these years? As you said, he’s wired this way. He won’t change.


      • I do understand your reason for “shutting up” but there is a bit of a phrase I rememeber that I apply to my life.. “You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better”.. You know better now so tell..Free yourself from his invisible, putrid chains 🙂 I love seeing (albet via cyberlly) the changes in you these past few months.. You rock!!


      • Putrid chains. Haha! I like it. WordPress therapy is good stuff. And so are you. Thanks for cheering me on! (Although I couldn’t figure out how to make this reply to yours.)


  • i honestly cannot imagine what it must be like to harbor such a secret. things like this truly scare me. i watch law and order all the time, but to hear about real life stories sure brings me a reality check.


  • Reblogged this on Les cendres du temps and commented:
    I read this blog about a week ago.  

    Unconfirmed Bachelorette and I have noted  our similarities before but this one shook me.  Her experiences as a child mirror mine.  That betrayal of trust from someone whose attention we craved.  The condoning behaviour of those who knew.  The knowledge that they chose their need of the  pedophile above their care for you. They rock the world of a child on many levels.  Just how many of us have experienced this abuse.  Where the abuse was in one way minor but the impact on the child was not.  And how many abusers start with tentative steps but then progress.  Most of them I would suggest.

    But it shook me more because of something that had been bothering me.  The behaviour of someone in my life was unsettling me.  Nothing concrete but intuition was making my synapses fire.  This person, as a friend of my family,  had access to my daughter.  I’d reassured myself that she was never alone with him.  And beside, I trusted his wife to ensure she was okay.  Unconfirmed Bachelorette reminded me of the naivety in assuming that his partner would protect my child. 

    Remember, I had no reason to suspect him, just intuition together with a few inappropriate remarks that may merely  reflect his immaturity.  But reading that blog pushed my buttons. 

     I took action.  He will no longer speak to my daughter.  He is out of my social circle.   Or in truth it’s me that’s out of theirs.  

    To take action I’ve had to fall out over something minor.  Ostracise myself from a group of friends.  I am sad.  It will be difficult for a while.  People will talk and point the finger, at me, not him.  But I will never have the guilt of knowing that I did nothing when my intuition was screaming. 

    I was not prepared to wake up and feel that I had let my child down.  I was not prepared to take on that guilt or see her pain knowing I could have done something.  I was not prepared to risk her innocence and trust being taken from her. 

    Thank you Unconfirmed Bachelorette for writing that blog.  


    • Thank you, Phoenix. Your empathy means a lot. But even more importantly, if writing my story prompted even one person to take action when something didn’t feel right, if even one child may have been protected; for that I am truly grateful.


    • Thanks for reblogging. Taking action like you did took courage. But then I already knew you are courageous. This Sandusky trial did have positive effects, bringing all this out into the light of day, and hopefully causing people to trust their guts when something doesn’t feel right.


  • Came over from Phoenix.
    That’s a hell of an experience, and I’m both apalled and very angry after reading this. I can understand (without approving, but this is way out of my league) the staying and ignoring in some cases – physically/mentally abused wife, or some other power/victim relationship.
    But the response of “I love him” absolutely floors and shocks me .

    This is an incredible post. I won’t click like (because that doesn’t quite fit) but the admiration for the story you’ve told is there in spades.


    • Thank you so much, El Guapo, for coming over to let me know my story spoke to you. “I love him” sickened me. I truly do not understand the person my sister has become. I cannot in any way condone what her husband did, and her choice to stay with him. Her choice has meant that I’ve lost a sister.


  • Powerful, powerful stuff. I’m sorry for all the grief this pedophile has brought on you, your nieces, your sister…everyone. One of the best books I read is called Protecting the Gift. He talks about ways to keep ourselves safe and how to teach our children, most especially girls, how to keep themselves safe. Parents need to be able to listen to the hard truths and then act. You’re a good writer, expressing very difficult subject matter. I hope it brings you a modicum of peace in what must be a tumultuous world.


Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s