In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday night, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's adopted son Matt Sandusky detailed how he had been sexually abused by Jerry as a child. "90 percent of the time with Jerry Sandusky was everything a child would want," he said, explaining that the desire for a stable family life made him "willing to make this compromise" and keep silent about Jerry's activities.
Matt said that the grooming process started right away, when he first met Jerry at the age of nine. At first, it wasn't particularly sexual; they just wrestled, a term Jerry has used to defend his innocence. "He would be aroused. Again, even at that age, you still don't know. I thought in my mind, the only thing I could tell myself was that he was gay. That's the only thing that I could tell myself."
Though he'd previously told investigators that he had not been forced to have oral or anal sex, Matt told Oprah that they had had oral sex and that Sandusky had penetrated him digitally:
Then it's, then as I now know and have the words for it, it's oral sex. He's doing that to you and it's very confusing, it's very confusing for you because you have a reaction. It's something that you at that time you definitely don't know what's happening. But that's just what it is I guess. I don't want to say that it's pleasurable but it's not the most painful thing I guess.
After this, Oprah clarified that it was okay for Matt to say it had been pleasurable, given that the aim and intention of grooming is to make sexual abuse pleasurable for victims so that the relationship becomes confusing for them.
Oprah asked Matt if he thought Jerry thought he was innocent and whether Matt thought Jerry was in love with him and the other boys. He replied yes to both:
I think that he believed the things that he was doing to us, that was love. That was him taking care of us. That was him being there for us when no other person would. So in his own warped way, I truly believe that he believes that he cared and that he was loving us.
I think that in his own mind, he doesn't see what he did to us as hurtful, as damaging, as traumatic. As shameful, absolutely. He believes that he was giving us so much but that's part of it. That's him showing love.
Matt also denied Dottie Sandusky's claims that he had stolen from the Sandusky family and said he thought there was no way she didn't know about the sexual abuse:
I find it very hard for someone to have been married to someone for so long, for someone to have been in that home, for him to say that he was going to go tuck me in, or tuck another child in, and have him be gone for 40 minutes, "talking" or saying goodnight to that child – in my mind, I find it hard to believe that she would not have had some inclination.
The only point at which Matt seemed to break down was when he was discussing his wife and children, explaining that given the amount of negative attention the family has received, he wishes that for their sake, he had stayed silent.