HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky’s adopted son Matthew said in a television interview Thursday that his sexual abuse at the former Penn State coach’s hands consisted of oral sex, a more serious allegation than he made to detectives two years ago.
Matthew Sandusky spoke on “Oprah Prime” about abuse he says occurred when Jerry Sandusky would tuck him in during overnight stays at the Sandusky home in central Pennsylvania, after being instructed to wear only underwear or blue mesh shorts.
Jerry Sandusky would tickle, blow on his belly and wrestle on the floor, he said, and the encounters would gradually become more sexual.
“Then it’s, then as I now know, it’s oral sex,” he told Oprah Winfrey. “He’s doing that to you and it’s very confusing, it’s very confusing for you because you have a reaction, you know. It’s something that you at that time you definitely don’t know what’s happening.”
The claim of oral sex was specifically denied in an audiotape of his 29-minute interview with police detectives that NBC obtained at the time of Jerry Sandusky’s 2012 trial.
Matt Sandusky told investigators two years ago that Jerry Sandusky had rubbed along or against his genitals but that he did not recall any penetration or oral sex. He said then that he was getting therapy and memories were coming back to him.
He told police he came forward to correct the record from his own grand jury testimony.
“So that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is. And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying,” Matt Sandusky said two years ago. He was not called to testify, and Jerry Sandusky has not been charged with any crime in relation to his adopted son.
At bedtime in the Sandusky’s home in State College, he told Winfrey, Jerry Sandusky’s “ritual began.”
“The overnight visits were — they were good. I mean, except for that one part, bedtime. Bedtime was the bad part. But any other time that we were in the home, that we were doing anything in the home with the family, it was fine,” he said.
Matthew Sandusky said he recognized elements of his own abuse when he sat through courtroom testimony by a young man described in court as Victim 4, someone he knew better than any of the other seven who testified at the trial. Sandusky was convicted of various types of abuse of 10 boys, including all eight who testified.
“But his story isn’t his story — it’s my story,” Matthew Sandusky told Winfrey. “At this point, that’s where the door really opened up and it kind of just hit me from every single detail that this man is talking about.”
He said he wonders if it wouldn’t have been easier to simply keep quiet and not turn against his adopted father, knowing it would alienate family members who helped him in many ways over the years.
Matthew Sandusky said he believes that Jerry Sandusky does not think he harmed him or any of the other boys.
“I think that he believes, the things that he was doing to us, that was love to him,” he told Winfrey. “That was him taking care of us. That was him being there for us when no other person would have been. So in his own — to me — warped way, I truly believe that he believed that he cared and that he was loving us.”
Winfrey asked him how people can know that what he’s saying is the truth and not an adaptation of Victim 4’s experience.
“I would say my story has been well-documented,” he said. “And if you really want to find out what my story is and you really can objectively look at it, it’s in the record.”
Jerry Sandusky, once Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno’s assistant and heir apparent at Penn State University, is currently serving a 30- to 60-year sentence. He has lost an appeal to the state Supreme Court but maintains he is innocent.
Matt Sandusky is among those who have shared $60 million worth of civil settlements by Penn State.