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Child Abuse Expert: No Way Sandusky Victims Are Lying

By Patrick Perion-

(Editor's Note: Patrick has been a child abuse investigator since 1994 and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He will weigh in with his thoughts as a special contributor throughout the Jerry Sandusky Trial. Patrick is otherwise known as "Quad City Pat", a frequent caller to the Boers & Bernstein Show.)

(CBS) Day 1:

Monday marked day one of the trial of Jerry Sandusky.  His attorney, Joe Amendola, had what could charitably be called a bad day.  Starting with opening arguments and sinking from there, Joe just doesn't seem up to the title of the best defense attorney in Pennsylvania.

Amendola opened with typical defense attorney tactics.  In this case, they were complete nonsense.  "If my client did this why did four adults not come forward?" "This case will show that these so called victims have a financial stake in this."

Amendola might as well have led with: "If my client is a liar, why are his pants not on fire?" (thanks to Tim Baffoe AKA @ten_foot_midget for that line).

One of the oldest ploys in the book is to blame the victims. In this case, Amendola and by extension Sandusky are blaming the victims' "financial stake" as their reason for coming forward.  In the 18 years that I have been investigating child abuse and child sexual abuse, I have heard a riff on this hundreds of times.  It's a pet peeve for myself and anybody who does this work.

Occasionally there are cases in which child abuse and child sexual abuse allegations are made for some gain.  Those cases usually involve custody battles.  In cases where a group of victims comes forward against an authority figure, the chances that they are making up something for any gain are extremely low. When kids try to get someone in trouble, they don't say they were sexually abused, the say someone hit me, lied about me, etc.

The key here is that the victims were boys and now are men.  There is no amount of financial recompense that can assuage the stigma of being a male survivor of sexual abuse.  The guilt, fear, and self loathing are abysmal. These men would not be making up facts about being abused sexually if it didn't happen. Period.

Given that all of these victims were recruited through Second Mile, if they wanted to make money, they could write a book about how great Jerry was in saving them.  A lot easier to make money singing the praises of a savior than it is to get money making up false sex allegations.

I'd also like to briefly discuss Sandusky's demeanor.  Monday, people mused that he must be the best actor in the world, or he just doesn't get it.

Again, calling on years of experience, my gut says the latter is true.  The experiences that my fellow investigators and I have had clearly show that the hard core abusers just don't get it.  Sandusky is incapable of believing that what he did was wrong.  His particular paraphilia is such that as long as he "loves" his victims he is never wrong.

Having said all this, here's a word of caution:  A good first day does not make a conviction. Unfortunately, bad guys go free because of one stupid juror.

Day 2:

The defense that these victims are in it for the money is ridiculous.  There are many opportunists in this world.  There are always scam artists looking for a buck.  Here's the problem, when was the last time you knew someone who faked sexual abuse for fun and profit?  When was the last time 10 men you knew faked sexual abuse to roll in a bed of money?  It just doesn't happen.

Statistics show that 1 in 10 boys are sexually abused, but due to the stigma of reporting, that number is probably closer to 1 in 6.  I won't go into the shame of abuse and the horror of reporting in this post. Suffice it to say, in my years of doing this, its been a lot harder to get boys to talk about what happened.

The second point I want to address tonight, is the breakdown of Victim 1 on the stand and his admission that he may have said different things in the grand jury testimony.  If I had a nickel for every kid whose story evolved over time, I wouldn't still be working for the state.

The fact is that victims are human, horribly beaten down humans.  Victim 1 was the kid whose guidance counselor didn't believe him. Memory is imperfect. Sometimes kids say things happened once or twice, and those things happened many more times.  Its tragic that they have to relive it in trial, but at least Victim 1 was strong enough to be on the stand.

This trial is an ugly business, it is not going to get better.  For whatever reason, Sandusky has decided to take this to the end.  Here's hoping his end is in a State Penitentiary for the rest of his miserable life.

Patrick is a 1990 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport IA. He's been working in child welfare since 1988. Since 1994, he has been a child abuse investigator and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He was certified in forensic interviewing of child sexual abuse victims in 1999 and received an advanced certification in 2001.  He's also been a trainer of forensic interviewing for child welfare professionals and law enforcement officials. On a personal note, he out kicked his coverage in marrying his wife Nicole and he has two wonderful daughters. Follow Patrick on Twitter @QuadCityPat and read his blog. He is not a spokesperson for his employer and his opinions are  his own. 

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