Victims 4, 5 and 6 Address Jerry Sandusky at Sentencing
Victim 4 will never forgive Jerry Sandusky, Victim 5 is haunted by nightmarish images and Victim 6 describes his emotional wounds as deep and painful.
Before delivering his statement and being sentenced on Tuesday, Jerry Sandusky faced three of his victims again, and probably for the last time. Each man, deprived of childhood's innocence, talked about how his life was forever changed by the 68-year-old man who smirked, and clad in a red jumpsuit, slumped in his seat inside the courthouse.
"I don't know where to begin. You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model and teach me about things like honor and respect and accountability," Victim 4 said.
Now 28 years old, Victim 4 met Sandusky through The Second Mile. He stayed silent as his abuse permeated every aspect of his life, from his behavior to performance in school. He never wanted to admit what was happening to him.
Victim 4 thought he was the only one. Now, his only remorse is not speaking out sooner. He testified in June that he wished he had reported his abuse because it might have spared the other victims.
"I want you to know that I don't forgive you and I don't know if I'll ever for give you," Victim 4 said. "I came from a bad situation and you only made it worse.
"My only regret is that this happened ... I ask that others who were abused will forgive me for what happened to them.
"I won't let my own son out of my sight for fear of what will happen. How this has screwed up my life ... you had the chance to plead guilty rather than take accountability for your actions.
"You should be ashamed of yourself and be held accountable for your actions."
Victims 5 and 6 also addressed Sandusky. Where Victim 4 was angry, Victims 5 and 6 were emotional, their voices breaking as tears fell when they spoke.
"As I put the 1998 shower incident on campus in focus, the very kids you claimed to be trying to help were the very ones you victimized," Victim 6 said.
"My family has suffered many years ... with my rage. My personality changed for the worse and I became something of a social outcast because I did not know how to process what had happened to me.
"I've been left with deep, painful wounds that you caused and have been buried in the garden of my heart for many years. Words can simply not defend [you]."
Victim 6 said he continues to cycle through stages of debilitating emotions as he relives painful memories and the shame renews fresh.
The worst feeling of them all, he said, is the feeling of violation. Yet he said he has found strength in his faith. Somehow, he said, he will carry on.
"I will walk down this road untraveled to healing ... I have not by any means arrived, but I have certainly left."
Then he turned to Sandusky, who sat smirking at the man who had once been tricked as a child with the word "horesplay."
"You can spend the rest of your remaining years in denial and torment as you are trying to speak to instance ... admit your guilt and seek forgiveness," the man said.
Victim 5 said he is still haunted by the time he was abused by Sandusky. The images are burned on his brain of the old man's naked body and he's spent sleepless night fending off nightmares attempting to force him to relive his terror, which has led to battles with depression.
"I isolated myself from those I love most: my mother, my father, my brothers and my girlfriend," Victim 5 said.
"A man who I trusted, respected and admired molested other boys like me over the course of the years. He took my childhood away from me and he should be sentenced accordingly."
Prosecutor Joe McGettigan read statements from Victim 1, the 18-year-old whose report of abuse led to the grand jury investigation and indictment and arrest of Sandusky, and from the mother of Victim 9, a woman who testified at the trial in June.
Cleland told the victims they should be commended for their courage, not feel embarrassment toward the abuse they had no control over before he sentenced Sandusky to 30-60 years in prison for his crimes.
After the sentence was dealt, the victims embraced their families and one another as smiles crept slowly across their faces.