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.
GUILTY OF 45 OF 48 COUNTS.
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.