Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Mrs. Sandusky

Did you see the letter Dottie Sandusky wrote to the judge in advance of her husband's sentencing hearing? She wanted the judge to know that Jerry is not a monster, that he was good to people, that he didn't hurt those kids, etc., etc. I've seen many online comments today calling her sick, evil, demented, as guilty as he is.  But to me, she's just sad. Sad and pathetic and weak.

She's not the first older woman who found herself married to a nasty child molester I've encountered. Back in law school, I shadowed a parole officer for a day. One of his stops was at the home of an 80 year-old man who liked little girls a little too much. I will never forget walking into that house and seeing his 80 year-old wife to whom he had been married for 60 years. She welcomed us, puttered around while the p.o. talked to her husband, and occasionally offered assurances on particular points, like that he was going to counseling sessions and staying away from little girls. All while offering us tea in her cramped dining room that looked like it had been decorated 40 years ago. I was naive and oh so young and couldn't fathom why she stayed with him after finding out about his very indecent ways. She just seemed so sad, stuck, and resigned to standing by her man, like she had no choice. Maybe financially, she didn't but it was more that she didn't think any woman in any economic station would have that choice because staying with him was just what had to be done.

But I think I get it now. How hard must it be to try to face the fact that the man you married really is a child molesting creep. How much easier it is to deny the accusations, or even before that to ignore any warning signs you might see or instincts you have. Because if you recognize you married such a person, what does that say about you? Especially if you truly don't know anything about this until later in life. Do you then have to question your entire life, wonder what else you missed or what other terrible judgments you made? It would be an incredibly hard think to accept that your entire adult life had been in a sense a lie.

Which is why I don't despise Dottie Sandusky or think she's evil or anything like that. I can't work up the energy to be outraged at her words to the judge or her never apparently having noticed her husband's activities. I just think she's weak, too weak to choose any path except denial. It's not commendable, but it's understandable. And sad. And pathetic.

1 comment:

BellsforStacy said...

She is so sad. She will need therapy, I think, for the remainder of her days. And I would imagine that the stress of this whole ordeal will have shortened those.

I have empathy for her. But all of the adults in this situation failed the kids in their care. And if there was real justice, they would be held accountable for their silence. It's not like Sandusky woke up 15 years ago and decided he would start abusing children. There are probably dozens more victims out there from across his lifetime. And she, being his wife, more than likely at least suspected.

Blog Designed by : NW Designs