HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A young man whose sexual-abuse claims triggered the investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky says in his new book Sandusky’s wife once called down to the basement while he was being attacked and Sandusky dismissed her by saying he was busy.
Aaron Fisher writes in “Silent No More” that Dottie Sandusky asked her husband to fix a table upstairs but that when he replied he was fixing an air hockey table she dropped the subject.
“Sarge,” Fisher wrote, using her nickname, “never went down to the basement.”
The basement, according to court testimony, is where Sandusky abused Fisher and other boys who stayed overnight at his home.
Fisher, who was known publicly for a year only as Victim 1, put aside anonymity Friday to speak about his ordeal as a child, telling ABC’s “20/20” he had contemplated suicide because authorities took so long to prosecute Sandusky, nearly three years after he and his mother first alerted school officials.
The Associated Press bought an early copy of Fisher’s book, which is being published next week.
Jerry Sandusky didn’t testify at trial but has repeatedly said he is innocent, and Dottie Sandusky has maintained she never saw him behave inappropriately with children.
Not only that, Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer Joe Amendola said Friday, “she said they had a freezer in the basement so she would routinely go down there go get stuff to make for dinner. She said had she thought Jerry was doing anything inappropriate, she said he wouldn’t have needed the judicial system.”
In the book, Fisher’s mother and co-author, Dawn Daniels, recounts meeting Jerry Sandusky after her son had spent a couple of summers at events held by his charity, The Second Mile.
“When Aaron introduced us, Jerry shook my hand, put his arm around Aaron, roughed up his hair and said, ‘You got a good kid on your hands there,’” she said, according to the book.
Fisher wrote that in an early warning sign, while swimming together he felt Sandusky’s hand on his crotch a “little too long.” During car rides, he said, Sandusky had him sit up front and would put his hand on the boy’s thigh.
He first reported the abuse in 2008, but he said the state attorney general’s office told him it needed more victims before Sandusky would be charged. Sandusky was arrested last November.
The delay, Fisher said, made him increasingly desperate.
“I thought maybe it would be easier to take myself out of the equation,” he told ABC. “Let somebody else deal with it.”
Fisher, 18, testified at Sandusky’s trial, which ended with Sandusky convicted of 45 counts of abuse involving Fisher and nine other boys. Sandusky, 68, was sentenced this month to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Fisher said he began spending nights at the Sandusky home in State College, about 30 miles from his own home in Lock Haven, when he was 11. He said kissing and back rubbing during those overnight visits progressed to oral sex. He said he tried to distance himself from Sandusky, to no avail.
Fisher was 15 when he and his mother reported the abuse to a school principal, who responded that “Jerry has a heart of gold and that he wouldn’t do those type of things,” Fisher told ABC, repeating his trial testimony.
In the book, Fisher describes the moment when he told the principal and a guidance counselor Sandusky had molested him: “All the color when out of their faces. I wouldn’t give them any details, because it was so embarrassing to tell that kind of stuff to women.”
School officials reported Sandusky to Clinton County Children and Youth Services, which began an investigation and brought in state police.
The AP typically does not name sexual-abuse victims, unless they identify themselves publicly, as Fisher has done.
Amendola said Fisher and other accusers were motivated by money, a claim he has repeatedly made.
On Thursday, Amendola filed a document that is the first step in Sandusky’s effort to overturn his conviction, contending there wasn’t enough evidence against him and the trial wasn’t fair. The post-sentencing motions attacked rulings by the judge, the closing argument by the prosecution and the speed by which he went from arrest to trial.
Sandusky wants the charges tossed out and/or a new trial, saying the statute of limitations had run out for many of the counts for which he was convicted in June.
The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down longtime coach Joe Paterno and the university’s president and leading the NCAA, college sports’ governing body, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university’s football program.
Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.