HARRISBURG, Pa., July 17 (Reuters) - An adopted son of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky recounted to Oprah Winfrey in often graphic detail how the former Penn State University assistant football coach had molested him as a teenager in what became a “bedtime ritual.”
In an interview broadcast on Thursday in a segment of Winfrey’s “Oprah Prime” program, Matthew Sandusky, the youngest of the family’s six adopted children, also said he found it hard to believe that his adoptive mother, Jerry Sandusky’s wife Dottie, had been unaware of the abuse.
“She has walked into the bedroom when I was laying on top of Jerry Sandusky in my underwear,” recalled Matthew Sandusky, now aged 33.
Dottie Sandusky was shown in a separate video clip asserting that her husband was innocent and had not molested anyone. She has accused Matthew Sandusky of stealing her husband’s football championship rings, a claim he denied in Thursday’s interview.
In a case that rocked the world of college athletics, Jerry Sandusky was jailed in 2012 for between 30 and 60 years, for using his position in the prestigious Penn State football program to sexually abuse 10 boys over a period of 15 years.
In the interview, Matthew Sandusky said the abuse he suffered was not greatly different from that described by witnesses who testified at his adoptive father’s trial.
But his television appearance was the first opportunity for most people to hear that story directly from a victim, since the trial was not televised.
He said Sandusky’s abuse of him began with a hand on his knee as he rode in a car with the coach at the age of 9. Over time, he said, his adoptive father escalated the level of inappropriate physical contact to kissing him on the lips and lying on top of him while aroused.
The abuse ultimately grew into instances of forced oral copulation and sodomy, with some of the sexual assaults occurring while he was in the shower, Matthew Sandusky said.
During the interview, he also recounted a troubled upbringing by a single mother prior to his adoption by the Sandusky family, and admitted to several arrests as a teen and a suicide attempt.
At the age of 16, given a choice between going to juvenile prison or being adopted by the Sanduskys, he chose adoption.
Matthew Sandusky is one of 26 men abused by the coach who have shared in a total settlement with Penn State of $59.7 million. (Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Steve Gorman and Clarence Fernandez)