Dottie Sandusky Speaks Out on National Television, says Husband is Innocent, Victims 'Manipulated'
Jerry Sandusky's wife is speaking out for the first time since the former assistant football coach was convicted for his role in a horrifying child sex abuse case that shocked the nation.
Appearing on NBC's Today Show Wednesday morning, Dottie Sandusky maintained that her husband is innocent and she believes that the victims were manipulated.
During the interview with Today Show host Matt Lauer, Dottie Sandusky was flanked by documentary filmmaker John Ziegler who's spent two years researching the case.
Lauer started out by asking Dottie Sandusky if she thinks her husband is innocent. "I definitely believe him," she says. "If I didn't believe him -- when I testified at trial I could not say what I said. I would have had to tell the truth."
During the trial some of the victims testified that they were abused in the basement of the Sandusky's home in College Township. Many wondered how that could have happened without Dottie Sandusky's knowledge.
Lauer asked her if she had blocked out certain events. "No," Dottie Sandusky replied emphatically. "No, I have not. No. Because there was nothing that went on. Because I was here. It was like, I mean I will take you downstairs and let you see the basement. It is not a dungeon. It is not what those kids said."
Dottie gave Lauer a tour of her home's basement. One of the victims said he screamed while he was being sexually abused by Sandusky in that basement. Lauer asked Dottie Sandusky why she didn't you hear it.
"Because he didn't scream" she replied.
Responding to criticism that she might have turned a blind eye to what happened, Dottie Sandusky stated, "I'm not a weak spouse. As you know, my name, they call me "Sarge" because Jerry said I kept everyone in line."
Was Jerry Sandusky guilty of inappropriate behavior? "I don't believe that," said his wife. "I believe that he showered with kids and that's the generation that Jerry grew up in."
But would she think it's inappropriate if someone showered and hugged one of her children? "I would guess that I would," she said.
Ziegler had this to say about showering with boys, "As inappropriate as it seems, and I have fully acknowledged, I would not do it in a million years. But that's not what Jerry Sandusky is in prison for. That's not why he's probably going to die in prison and has had his pension taken away. That's not why Joe Paterno was unjustly fired and three Penn State administrators are facing losing their freedom over this case."
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz all face trial for allegedly trying to cover up the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. All three men say they're innocent and promise to vigorously defend themselves in court.
Sandusky was first investigated in 1998, when the mother of victim six told authorities that her son had showered with Sandusky. Investigators eavesdropped on a conversation between the mother and Sandusky in which he said, "I wish I were dead."
According to Dottie Sandusky, "Jerry would not say I wish I was dead."
Lauer also asked about the motives of the young men who testified against her husband. She responded, "I think they were manipulated. Once the lawyers came into the case they said there was some money."
Lauer followed up by asking, "I think some people who are going to watch this are going to be furious by hearing what you're both saying because it seems that what you're asking us to believe is that everybody on the other side of this case has either been manipulated or is lying, and everybody on this side of the case is telling the truth."
Dottie Sandusky replied, "I think people need to know that Jerry is not guilty and see all of the discrepancies that went on at trial."
She also talked about her relationship with family friends. "There's some people in town who are friends of ours who we know have said that they really care about us and really know what's happening but they've been advised by their lawyers to stay as far away from us as possible."
Jerry Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison. His wife is allowed to see him once a week but no physical contact is permitted.
"He is in handcuffs, he has the belt and handcuffs when he comes. He is in a little room with the doors locked when he goes in the room, there's glass, there's mesh on the side. And I'm in a room, I'm not locked, I can come and go kind of thing.
"We talk about what's been going on with the family. We talk about things with the case, how things have been going for him.
"You know he is doing things. He reads, he writes, he meditates, he has a TV which is a lifesaver for him.
"I don't really see a whole lot of changes in him. A friend had written to him and asked him what he missed, what did he take most for granted?" Dottie Sandusky began to cry before continuing, "And he said, 'Family meals, the fun time with the grandkids, playing ball, doing special things with friends.' Our family had lots of picnics. It was always athletic things that we did."
Dottie Sandusky says her husband is optimistic that he'll be able to appeal his conviction.
"Oh yeah, we talk about that a lot," she says. "He is very hopeful and he is allowed to go to law library once a week which is for two hours. ... they put him in a cage and there is usually another inmate next to him from his area. He has access to a computer that he can look up different cases and look into that. I kid him and say maybe you're going to become a lawyer.
Dottie Sandusky says that God has a plan and that something good will come out of everything that's happened.
Asked what good might come out it she responded, "I don't know. Right now I do not know what good will come out of it."
You can watch the entire Today Show interview with Dottie Sandusky below: