Jerry Sandusky, the 70-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach now serving a 60-year sentence for sexually abusing numerous young boys over a 15-year period, also molested his own adopted son. That’s what Matthew Sandusky said during the trial of Jerry Sandusky in 2012, and next week, the nation will hear him tell his harrowing story to Oprah Winfrey.
Though the interview is being advertised by Winfrey’s OWN Network as the first time that the younger Sandusky “breaks his three year silence,” he actually told his story to documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev in the film Happy Valley, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
However, an Oprah Winfrey audience will be far larger than the audience for an independent documentary film. Speaking to Winfrey, Matthew Sandusky goes into detail about the sexual abuse he says he endured at the hands of the once-respected coach and community leader in an interview with the famed talk show host, set to air on July 17.
In a preview of the interview, Matthew Sandusky is heard to tell Oprah, “At bedtime, his ritual began.”
In 2012, Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse on 10 victims. But dozens more of Sundusky’s victims came forward after the coach’s arrest and following his conviction on as well. Matthew Sandusky was in that group.
He first upheld the Sandusky family story, testifying on behalf of his adopted father, but just two days after the trial of Jerry Sandusky began, Matthew recanted his defense of his adoptive father, saying that he, too, had been sexually abused starting when he was 10 years old.
His claims were found credible enough that Matthew Sandusky received part of a nearly $60 million settlement paid by Penn State University to 26 Jerry Sandusky victims in 2013.
The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal rocked Penn State and led to the firing of the school’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who took over as Penn State head coach in 1966 after serving as an assistant coach there since 1950. Paterno was 84 when he was fired. He died two months later.
A report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that Paterno helped cover up the sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky, which in at least one incident took place in the Penn State football locker room.
In a press release, OWN promises that Matthew Sandusky will reveal “never-before-heard details of the sexual abuse he experienced as a child at the hands of his adopted father,” Jerry Sandusky.