STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The wife of ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky said Thursday her husband is innocent of the child sex abuse allegations made against him and that his accusers are making up their stories, including one suggesting she was home while Sandusky attacked a boy who screamed for help.
Dottie Sandusky’s comments defending her husband were the first she has made since Sandusky was arrested last month and accused of molesting boys he met through a charity he founded for troubled youth. He faces more than 50 charges and has maintained his innocence.
She released the statement through her husband’s lawyer a day after a grand jury report detailed claims of two new accusers, among them the testimony of one who said he cried out for her help while Sandusky assaulted him in a basement bedroom.
“I am so sad anyone would make such a terrible accusation which is absolutely untrue,” she said. “We don’t know why these young men have made these false accusations, but we want everyone to know they are untrue.”
Dottie Sandusky, who has raised six adopted children, said she has been “shocked and dismayed” by the claims.
“I have been devastated by these accusations,” she said. “Our children, our extended family and friends know how much Jerry and I love kids and have always tried to help and care for them. We would never do anything to hurt them.”
Earlier Thursday, Jerry Sandusky was released after a night in jail when he posted bail stemming from the latest child sex abuse charges filed against him. Sandusky secured his release using $200,000 in real estate holdings and a $50,000 certified check provided by his wife, according to online court records. A judge has ordered him subject to electronic monitoring.
Sandusky faces criminal accusations from 10 young men who claim he molested them when they were boys in his home, on Penn State property and elsewhere. The scandal has provoked strong criticism that Penn State officials didn’t do enough to stop the alleged assaults and prompted the ouster of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno and the school’s longtime president, Graham Spanier.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten conference announced Thursday it would review the Penn State scandal and reserved the right to hand down sanctions pending its findings.
Sandusky, 67, has said repeatedly that he is innocent and has vowed to fight the case. In interviews with NBC and The New York Times, he said he showered and horsed around with boys but never sexually abused them.
Until her statement, Dottie Sandusky, 68, had kept largely out of sight since the charges were filed. She wasn’t seen or heard during his two interviews, had given no interviews herself and had not accompanied Sandusky to court the two times he was brought in for arraignments.
The grand jury report that accompanied the 12 new charges Wednesday said one alleged victim testified Jerry Sandusky kept him in a basement bedroom during overnight visits to the home, fed him there, forced him to perform oral sex and attempted on at least 16 occasions to anally penetrate him, sometimes successfully.
“The victim testified that on at least one occasion he screamed for help, knowing that Sandusky’s wife was upstairs, but no one ever came to help him,” the grand jury report said.
He described a pattern of sexual assaults by Sandusky over a period of years but testified that he had “barely any” contact with Sandusky’s wife during his visits, the grand jury said.
In her statement, Dottie Sandusky disputed his claims. “No child who ever visited our home was ever forced to stay in our basement and fed there. All the kids who visited us ate with us and our kids and other guests when they were at our home,” she said.
A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting Sandusky, declined to comment on her statement, and said he could not discuss whether investigators have interviewed her or want to interview her.
In the first grand jury report, issued Nov. 5, an accuser said he had not had contact with Jerry Sandusky for nearly two years but in the weeks before giving his testimony he received phone messages from Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky and a Sandusky friend seeking to talk to him about something important. Dottie Sandusky is otherwise mentioned, in passing, by only one of other alleged victim. He claimed she was part of a family contingent that went to bowl games he attended, and he testified she was not present when the former coach allegedly took him to a resort.
Lawyers who are not connected to the case said Thursday that evidence made public so far does not prove Dottie Sandusky did anything wrong although they said prosecutors almost certainly are interested in talking to her and lawsuits will almost certainly name her.
Dottie Sandusky, whose real name is Dorothy, met Jerry Sandusky at a summer picnic in 1965, just before he began his senior year at Penn State, according to his book, “Touched.”
They married in September 1966 and tried to start a family after he finished graduate school at Penn State, but discovered from doctors that they were not able to have children of their own for reasons that he didn’t specify.
Eventually, they adopted six children and the book portrays her as presiding over a bustling house filled with their own children, their children’s friends and children from The Second Mile charity, preparing most family meals and refereeing sibling rivalries.
“Dottie was the leader,” his book reads. “I became another kid for her to supervise as well. As I said before, there was never a dull moment in the Sandusky household, and I don’t think any of us would have wanted things any other way.”