In a statement to the judge before her husband’s sentencing, Dottie Sandusky came out and did what only her husband’s attorney had done in the past. She tried to paint her son Matt as a troubled young man, not fit to be a credible witness or believable victim. The Associated Press reports that she wrote to Judge John Cleland:
Matt Sandusky has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, “but he refuses to take his medication,” she wrote. “He has had many run-ins with the law and stolen money and items from our family.”
One cannot assume that she’s suggesting Matt’s bi-polar disorder makes him unable to remember what happened to him as a teenager. She is simply trying to say that he is untrustworthy and shouldn’t be believed. Part of Jerry’s letter to judge further explains the couple’s logic in saying their son and the other ten victims are liars. Jerry writes of his victims:
“They have been rewarded for forgetting, fabricating and exaggerating. Maybe they will have a better place to live, a new car, access to more highs, but they won’t change. Most of their rewards will be very temporary.”
I think Matt Sandusky’s legal representative best sums up this tactic when he comments, “Matt is extremely disappointed that they have decided to attack him in what amounts to an effort to divert attention away from Jerry’s heinous crimes.”
As many have rightly pointed out, mental health issues can be caused by trauma, such as sexual abuse. The fact that Matt has been diagnosed with a disorder does not disqualify him as a victim. The fact that he rebelled and had trouble with the law wouldn’t be surprising if the person he trusted and called his father decided to exploit that faith and use it as a tool for abuse. This pretty classic attempt to discredit a victim is something that happens in rape trials often, but it is always depressing and vile. It’s even more so when being perpetuated by the mother of the victim.
I can almost, in a dark corner of my mind, understand Dottie Sandusky refusing to believe that the man she loved and married could commit such horrible crimes. Accepting the opposite would mean dealing with such an immense amount of guilt, I’m not sure how a single person could handle it. But once your child gets involved, once that denial means trashing and dismissing your own son, there are no more excuses. There is no more pity. It is simply unimaginable and cruel.
Before this, I felt almost sorry for Dottie. Now, I hope there’s a special circle of hell for mothers who knowingly turn their backs on their children to protect monsters like Jerry Sandusky.