Penn State Scandal: Mother Of Alleged Jerry Sandusky Victim Claims Mistreatment By Son's School
"IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF YOUR SON"
Neither Turchetta nor Probst (nor any school official, for that matter) have explained why Sandusky was given the authority to pull Victim One out of class and take him off school grounds without permission from his mother. Calls placed to the offices of Central Mountain High School have gone unanswered.
And although Sandusky has been barred from the school, Mother One said other problems remained, which also convinced her to pull her son from the school. She said that once her son disclosed the abuse, fellow students and even school administrators remained skeptical -- and often incredulous -- about his claims.
One evening, while Mother One was shopping, she said the grandmother of one of the varsity football players approached her in a rage and, according to Mother One, proceeded to publicly berate her.
"She said, 'Thanks a lot! What are you doing getting involved for your son? Your son doesn't even play football anymore.' I remember saying, 'What are you talking about?'"
According to Mother One, the woman responded, "Oh, your son had to go and accuse Jerry [Sandusky] of abusing him and now he's not allowed to help the football team and he's not allowed around the school."
Aside from Child Youth Services, the police, Gillum, a few school administrators and immediate family members, she said she'd told no one else what had happened to Victim One.
Shocked, she asked the grandmother how she found out. Mother One recalls the woman responding that Turchetta brought it up at his weekly football parent meeting, presumably with family members of the football team.
According to Mother One, the woman added, "Coach Turchetta said these charges are never going to stick and he'll walk away."
"She never asked me if the charges were true. She just finished up with, 'Thanks a lot. Now our football team is going to lose and it's all because of your son.'"
Mother One said that Turchetta found ways to target her son as punishment for getting Sandusky removed from school grounds.
Although Turchetta didn't coach her son directly, his role as assistant principal and his involvement in the sports department gave him influence over other sports programs within the school. Mother One claims her son developed a close bond with a 28-year-old volunteer coach, which Turchetta abruptly ended.
One day, she recalled, her son told her that Turchetta was in his face, yelling at him: "With what you've done already, no 28-year-old man needs to be around you."
"I think he was accusing my son of having some kind of relationship with him," she said. "That's how my son took it, too."
Mother One said it was Turchetta's hostility, coupled with fears for her son's safety, that led her to remove her son from the school last week.
Since the Sandusky scandal broke, many have speculated over Victim One's identity; his mother says some in their community have figured out who he is, and have threatened the boy for being gay (which, she says, he is not).
A few days prior to removing her son from the school, Mother One said she learned some students had been threatening her son. She said she called principal Probst immediately.
"I heard that some kids were going to do some gang beating on my son," she said she told Probst. "I want to make sure you are aware of that and that Mike Gillum was going to talk to the county to see if we could get some police up there, to take whatever measure's to keep him safe."
Mother One said the principal responded by saying: "Okay, we're going to have a meeting and we'll get back to you."
Mother One said she persisted.
"I tried to tell her that the school needed to educate these kids about what my son has been through," she said. "I suggested them having a student assembly where they could talk about abuse so they could understand what has happened."
When the principal called back, she was more concerned about a BB gun found in the back of her son's vehicle more than a month earlier, according to Mother One.
"There was nothing about her meeting, nothing about my son's safety. No response to the threat that some kids were going to hurt my son," Mother One said. "Instead she brought up the BB gun they apparently found over a month ago. She said that he left the school distraught and had a BB gun. And I thought, 'What are you getting at now?' What's that BB gun have to do with this? That BB gun is rusty and probably 100 years old. It's been sitting in his car forever."
Bewildered by the school's inaction, she removed her son from the school.
Gillum believes that the school's actions are at odds with some of the statements about how it handled Victim One's complaints.
"Given the disparity between the actions taken when the initial symptoms were observed and the mother requested intervention to determine whether or not he was being victimized by this man, and then for the school officials to resist pursuing law enforcement or children and youth services, then later down the road to have officials claim that they were suspicious of Jerry Sandusky, or concerned about him, is obviously not congruent," he said.
Mother One said she is also troubled by what she believes are inconsistencies with the school officials' testimonies in the grand jury report. She points out that Turchetta claims he became suspicious of Sandusky's behavior and actions around certain students.
"If he suspected something was going on then why didn't he report it?" she asked.
NIGHTMARES EVERY NIGHT
Mother One said she's worried that her son will be further targeted as a result of this article, but decided to be interviewed because she wants her son's story to be heard.
She's also angry that Sandusky is currently free on bail.
"My son can't go anywhere," she said. "He can't go to the mall. Sandusky and his wife were just seen there over the weekend. Can you imagine what that would do to my son if he were to see him?"
She said her son is in constant fear, particularly about being abused again by Sandusky. Neither Victim One nor his mother sleep in their respective bedrooms; the two now sleep on separate couches in their living room.
She says her son has nightmares "every night," and that she does, too. She said she wakes up nightly when she overhears her son's cries in his sleep. He never says what he dreams about.
For his part, Gillum won't go into detail about his patient's mental state. But he noted that in almost all cases, rape and sexual abuse victims suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and think about hurting themselves physically.
Mother One said she hopes that she can give her son a semblance of normalcy one day. Humor, she said, helps. She said her son is a huge fan of Adam Sandler and that his films keep the house laughing.
She adds that her son already has a college in mind, and is hoping for a full scholarship and a possible major in criminology. She says her son watches "CSI" and "all those other cop shows" religiously, and has a heightened sense of justice on behalf of people who have been victimized. She said in a statement to the Patriot-News' Sara Ganim that her son's "major concern in the whole thing" was preventing anyone else from being abused.
Mother One says neither she nor her son have any anger toward Penn State as a whole. She says that the recent candlelight vigil by more than 10,000 Penn State students and State College residents in support of the victims was "very moving -- that was a very nice gesture they did."
She and Gillum also hope that Penn State will learn from this scandal, re-evaluate the policies that they say allowed Sandusky to continue his actions for so long, and perhaps allow the victims themselves to help craft any new policies.
Ryan Buell is a freelance journalist based in State College, Pa. Stefan Petrucha and Sergey Poberezhny provided reporting assistance.
CORRECTION: This article originally incorrectly stated that Central Mountain High School is in Monaca, Pa. The school is actually in Mill Hall, Pa.