“From the first time we met, he was fearful that he would be killed. He believed that Jerry Sandusky could have him killed.”
That powerful quote describes the constant fear “Victim 1” reportedly lived in after he came forward with claims that Penn State’s former assistant football coach sexually abused him.
In a heartbreaking interview, USA Today spoke with Michael Gillum, the psychologist who counseled the now-18-year-old called “Victim 1” and helped him to come forward.
While Gillum acknowledged Sandusky made no such threats against his patient, he said “Victim 1” lived in “extreme fear” of the anonymous threats he received once his name was linked to the investigation.
He and his mother were harassed by locals who were furious the boy’s claims led to Sandusky being severed from the school, Gillum told USA Today.
“We started putting a (witness) relocation plan together almost from the first week,” Gillum told USA Today. “There was huge fear.”
Sandusky was convicted last month of 45 counts of child sex abuse. Since then, other top Penn State officials including legendary football coach Joe Paterno have been blamed in an independent report for allegedly sweeping the initial allegations of abuse under the rug to protect Sandusky and the Penn State football program.
Gillum first met the unnamed teenager on Nov. 20, 2008 when he and his mother approached the Clinton County Children and Youth Social Services office after counselors at the boy’s school cautioned him against immediately reporting the abuse to authorities.
“He was so anxious, he was shaking,” Gillum told USA Today, adding that the boy spent two hours detailing the “incidents of fondling, kissing and other inappropriate contact,” the boy experienced with Sandusky.
The county report filed after this interview spurred Sandusky’s forced separation from Penn State, which in turn led to widespread anger directed at “Victim 1,” according to Gillum.
Unfortunately “Victim 1,” as well as Sandusky’s other accusers, aren’t alone.
The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America have recently been plagued by claims leaders sexually abused children and the centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused before age 18, USA Today reported.
Watch the full interview, courtesy of USA Today:
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