iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Rev. Earl E. Johnson

GET UPDATES FROM Rev. Earl E. Johnson
 

Jerry's Kids

Posted: 07/02/2012 5:00 pm

It started at Glover's the Clothier when I went to get my Boy Scout uniform. He would measure my inseam and pretend to measure "accurately." It was 1962.

In summer school, there were tickle sessions and wrestling matches on the old sofa from the teacher's lounge placed in the main hallway while the floor was being varnished. Just an innocent grope. Playing dirty.

Then as Team Announcer, it was normal for him to be around the boys locker room, and to come into coach's office and watch while being treated for a really bad case of jock rash. One time another coach showered with us but we knew he had a hot girlfriend and was having sex in her convertible.

There was lots of premarital sex going on with the upperclassmen because Vietnam was raging. So many teenage girls were getting pregnant and marrying as an honorable draft deferment. Sex was in the air. Six packs and country roads make babies.

You could drive at 15 ½ with a learner's permit. Mom and Dad worked all the time.

High School classes competed to gather the most soap bars to send to Vietnam. There was another competition that didn't cost postage to box and send stuff overseas. It was called Pennies Positive Nickels Negative. There were four jars outside the Principal's Office labeled for each class. The goal was to sabotage another class with Nickels (or Dimes and Quarters) while putting Pennies in your own class's jar. It was a huge success and really harnessed the glee in "penalizing" other classes with nickels (lunch money) while forging full speed ahead with bags of pennies for ones own class.

I was asked by him to help count the money after school. We would sit side by side with piles of coins to be wrapped and counted. The table covered our laps. He unzipped and put my hand on his erect penis. I kept moving my hand away. He kept putting it back.

At 14, you feel like you are an adult and in control of what happens to you and what doesn't. You are always horny. You already have a girlfriend and you know how to slow dance because of dance lessons in the seventh grade. Inspired by older kids talking about how they lost their virginity helped feed the imagination of those who hadn't, whether it is true or not. All you needed was a car.

You might have practiced on your mother's bra in the laundry basket, but that is another story.

Each new revelation of child sexual abuse can cause one to relive and re-experience ones own trauma even 40 years later. No one gets over anything. Whether it is a priest or a teacher, a trusted relative or family friend, each event is unique, and damage done over so-called "man lessons" (Sandusky). One issue may be that the predator doesn't understand or appreciate the consequences of their criminal actions. They are always "helping" the child.

So many stories, so many examples of abuse and how he did it and continued to do it.

Start your own charity as a "front" to help troubled and ignored young boys, get married and distract your wife with multiple foster kids, make travel and gifts normal, yet special for the intended special chosen one.

Jerry Sandusky's kids were subjected to Jerry's methods that the world simply doesn't understand. To teach penetration, penetrate. To show how to come, demonstrate. Soap, rinse and repeat. Make the dirty little secrets cleaner. And threaten. Your Dad will lose his job at the university and your family will lose their home and starve. No remorse for Jerry, after all, his methods worked! Until they didn't.

My Dad had a very bad temper and I think would have killed him if he had known.

That year, I missed 30 days out of school out of 180 and did everything I could to get attention even while not aware of the underlying motivation, the emotional pain that surfaced in chronic tardiness for marching band in the morning, to sinus infections in my sinus infections. The day I was to be admitted to the National Honor Society, the principal withdrew my name and initiated a "better behaved" student. The same for the American Legion's Boy State. Did he have any awareness or training on how to deal with a sexual predator on the high school faculty?

I took all that anger to college and excelled, in part, to get my parents to notice me. Thanks, therapist(s)! Then, on to Yale Divinity School, where closeted faculty sought disciples to share sacred intimacy. No need for sex ed in seminary. Liberation theology and the Living Theatre taught us to shed our modesty and our clothes. If it feels good, do it, until you remember that it didn't. To be so intelligent and so stupid. To help others as a distraction for not taking care of oneself. What's past is past until it resurfaces again and again. After the Age of Aquarius and before the Age of Consent, with the Vietnam War going on, King and Kennedy being assassinated, and a world gone crazy, whom could I tell? Who could I talk to? After all, I thought I had been an equal participant. My shame was my own. It was 1968.

When Dad died, he was in the VFW's Honor Guard holding a rifle across the edge of the cemetery. I had kept the secret. I imagined him shooting me even as I knew they were blanks. I worked to keep focus on remembering and treasuring my Dad and all of his sacrifices, and helping my young nephew put his teddy bear next to his grandfather in the coffin. It was 1989.

Back at my 40th high school reunion, I reconnected with my old classmates and my old rock band reunited and played great therapeutic rock and roll. I was able to directly ask my classmate why he had been so mean to me and discovered he had been abused by the same teacher. I thought I was the only one. Even after 40 years, it was so good to talk. It was 2008.

Thank you Pennsylvania jurors for making the right call. Even today, it's standard of practice for the defense to blame the victim for the crime. The college town has been educated and the crime prosecuted. Jerry still doesn't think he did anything wrong.

There are thousands out there who have come forward and will come forward but only when they are ready, their memory triggered, the pain re-surfaces and is too much to carry and own in 2012. And forgiveness without justice may not be forgiveness. He is dead but his crimes live on. I will not carry him anymore. I will not keep his crimes secret.

 
FOLLOW RELIGION