UPDATED 3/24 @ 11:30 a.m. ET: According to a Patriot-News report earlier this week, a child psychologist concluded that one of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged victims, “Victim 6”, was not sexually abused by Sandusky — a conclusion that could have significant legal ramifications in Sandusky’s case.
However, it appears the other child psychologist mentioned in the report has a different view, one that could also be equally important in Sandusky’s trial.
NBC News has obtained a complete internal Penn State file of the 1998 police investigation of Sandusky, which looks into allegations that the former PSU defensive coordinator showered and horsed around with two boys. State College, Pa., psychologist Dr. Alycia A. Chambers, the therapist for Victim 6, was included in that report. Below is a portion of her conclusion:
“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.
“One colleague, who has contact with the Second Mile, confirms that Mr. Sandusky is reasonably intelligent and thus, could hardly have failed to understand the way his behavior would be interpreted, if known. His position at the Second Mile and his interest in abused boys would suggest that he was likely to have had knowledge with regard to child abuse and might even recognize this behavior as a typical pedophile ‘overture.’”
A report from the Patriot-News earlier this week noted that a second psychologist, John Seasock, was consulted after a first psychologist concluded Sandusky’s behavior was a “classic example of how a sexual abuser grooms his victim.” Seasock, however, drew his own conclusion that Victim 6 was not sexually abused by Sandusky, nor was there “grooming” or “inappropriate sexual behavior” by Sandusky. Seasock did admit, though, there were “gray areas” and that investigators “can’t walk away from the investigation.”
Seasock had previously worked with the local Centre County Child and Youth Services, a local agency that had licensed Sandusky as a foster parent. Seasock did not comment to NBC News for their story
When reached by NBC News, and with the permission of Victim 6’s family, Chambers reiterated “There was very little doubt in my mind (Sandusky) … was a male predator, someone that was in the process of grooming a young man for abuse. I thought…my report was strong enough to suggest that this was somebody who should be watched.”
The allegations involving Victim 6 are, for a lack of a better word, interesting. No where in the grand jury indictment does it state Victim 6 was sexually abused by Sandusky. At the same time, the allegations became grounds for an investigation that provided precedence for concern when the alleged 2002 incident between Sandusky and “Victim 2” took place four years later, even though the ’98 investigation was ultimately scrapped. Former PSU VP Gary Schultz testified that he never reviewed the details of the case.
There was another person who never saw the details of the Chambers’ report. NBC News explains:
But one of the investigators on the 1998 case, Jerry Lauro, then with the state Department of Public Welfare and now retired, told NBC News he was never shown a copy of Chambers’ report and was stunned to learn of its conclusions.
“Wow!” he said when he was read Chambers’ conclusions by a NBC News correspondent. “This is the first I’ve heard of this. I had no idea . If I would have seen the report, I would certainly have done some things differently. Boy, this is a shock. “
Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, also says he hasn’t seen the report, but plans to dispute it with other psychologists who will testify for the defense.
“I understand that there are some people who could look at this behavior and say it’s a pedophile problem,” Amendola said. “But there are others who will say, ‘This is somebody who loves kids and loves to be around them’ … It’s the old story, you get your expert and I’ll get my expert.”
As we’ve stated numerous times before, the scandal involving former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky branches far beyond the walls of Penn State’s athletic facilities. Investigations at the local, state and federal level involving two grand jury reports and totaling 10 alleged victims have made the story bigger than most of us can probably imagine.
One branch of the Sandusky story is that of prosecutor Ray Gricar, who mysteriously disappeared in 2005 before being declared legally dead last summer*. According to Pennsylvania’s state attorney general’s office, Gricar made the decision not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998 after two kids reported that Sandusky washed them in a shower. The reason behind Gricar’s decision remains unknown and his laptop hard drive, which was found in the Susquehanna River in close proximity to his parked car, was too badly damaged by water to be read.
However, a Patriot-News report provides some new context that may explain Gricar’s decision to close the case:
Information made public in a searing grand jury presentment showed that Sandusky allegedly admitted to touching the boy known as Victim 6 while they were both naked and saying, “I wish I were dead.”
What wasn’t made public until now was that two days before Gricar closed the case, a psychologist concluded Victim 6 was not sexually abused by Sandusky.
The psychologist — John Seasock — was identified in court documents by Sandusky’s attorney as he asked a judge to force prosecutors to hand over the document, along with juvenile records and current and past addresses and phone numbers of the alleged victims.
A source who reviewed those documents told the Patriot-News that he believed Seasock’s report was the reason the investigation was closed. Whether it actually was or not isn’t known for sure, but another psychologist, called a day after “Victim 6” reported the alleged “awkward” shower incident with Sandusky, concluded “what the boy described… was a classic example of how a sexual abuser grooms his victim,” said the source, paraphrasing the psychologist’s report.
It’s important to note that Seasock’s conclusion is just that — a conclusion — and not a reflection of what actually happened one way or the other.
In fact, the testimony from “Victim 6” remains a point of debate. The mother of alleged victim, who reportedly heard directly from Sandusky that he felt what he did was “wrong”, says prosecutors didn’t initially want to include her son’s testimony in the grand jury indictment.
“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case,” Children and Youth Services investigator Jerry Lauro said in November. “I don’t want [the mother] to think we didn’t believe their kid back then. We did, but we didn’t have enough.”
Sandusky has admitted to showering and ‘horsing around” with young boys, but denies any sexual abuse. His trial has been set for May 14, where he faces over 50 counts of child-sex abuse.
(*note: Gracar’s disappearance isn’t believed to be connected to Sandusky’s allegations)