Accuser raises questions about Sandusky's wife
So far, at least one lawsuit has been filed. It names Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the nonprofit that Sandusky founded for troubled youth, The Second Mile, through which he is said to have met his alleged victims, but not Sandusky's wife.
Dottie Sandusky, 68, had kept largely out of sight since the first charges were filed against her husband Nov. 5.
She spoke out in a statement released through her husband's lawyer a day after a Wednesday grand jury report detailed the 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.
The 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 numerous visits in which he stayed in the basement, the grand jury said.
Dottie Sandusky disputed his claims.
"No child who ever visited our home was ever forced to stay in our basement and fed there," she said in her statement. "All the kids who visited us ate with us and our kids and other guests when they were at our home."
One civil litigation lawyer who read Wednesday's grand jury report, Joseph T. Musso in Alexandria, Va., said he saw nothing in the victim's statement that on its face would give rise to criminal or civil liability for Dottie Sandusky.
But, Musso said, "ordinary people will likely ask themselves, `How does she not know what's going on?"'
The explanation may be complicated.
It is not unusual for family members to shut out or deny the abuse of others at the hands of a family member, analysts say.
For instance, they can do it out of fear, hopelessness, helplessness or psychosis, said Harold J. Bursztajn, co-founder of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at Harvard Medical School.
"You have a variety of flavors of denial," Bursztajn said.
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