Psychologist flagged Sandusky as ‘likely pedophile’ in 1998
Years before Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sexual abuse, a psychologist told Penn State police in 1998 that the former assistant football coach acted the way a pedophile might.
In her assessment, Alycia Chambers described her involvement in a case in which the mother of a young boy reported that Sandusky had showered with her son and may have had inappropriate contact with him. A redacted version of that evaluation was published Saturday by NBC News.
“My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a ‘loving,’ ‘special’ relationship,” Chambers wrote.
The assessment could be significant because it suggests the university was warned about Sandusky, in no uncertain terms, as early as 1998, but did not stop the alleged abuse.
Sandusky, a longtime defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, is currently under house arrest as he awaits trial on more than 50 counts of child sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty.
Former school officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are charged with perjury and failure to report a crime in relation to the investigation.
In addition to Chambers’ evaluation, NBC News released a 1998 campus police report tied to the same sexual misconduct allegations against Sandusky. It described a second evaluation conducted by John Seasock, identified as another psychologist.
Like Chambers, he spoke to the child in question about what transpired between him and Sandusky. He went into the interview cold, and reported he found no indication of child abuse.
“Seasock said that he hadn’t heard of a 52-year-old becoming a pedophile,” the report read.
In an e-mail to CNN, Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general, declined comment on the 1998 assessment and differing opinions.
Penn State rejected a CNN public records request for a copy of the 1998 police report in December. Amy Elizabeth McCall, an assistant general counsel, asserted in a letter to CNN then that Penn State is “a state-related institution” and not a “state school” like some in other states, and therefore does not have the same public records requirements as other public institutions.
“Because the 1998 investigation did not result in any criminal charges, it is not criminal history information and the university’s police are thus required by law to keep that information within the police department,” McCall wrote.
According to a grand jury’s report released in early November, the mother of one of Sandusky’s accusers — identified as Victim 6 — came forward and said the coach had showered with her son and hugged him.
Two campus police detectives eavesdropped on conversations in May 1998 when the mother confronted the coach, who retired a year later from the Nittany Lion program. Police later monitored a second conversation that month, in which the mother told Sandusky to stay away from her son.
“I understand. I was wrong,” Sandusky said, according to the grand jury report. “I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”
No charges were ever filed in that instance, and local and state law enforcement authorities did not look deeper into those and other allegations against Sandusky until years later.
Howard Janet, attorney for Victim 6, released a statement soon after news of the report broke on Saturday, blasting Penn State for failing to take action.
“Why was a second opinion sought from someone with a connection to Jerry Sandusky? Why were reports of inappropriate contact between Sandusky and young boys on the Penn State campus and Penn state activities consistently ignored?”
“Much of the evidence coming to light points to a conspiracy of silence surrounding Sandusky’s behavior at the expense of children,” he wrote.
Credit: CNN. CNN’s Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.