Almost five years after his father was sent to prison, Jeffrey Sandusky has brought the family name into headlines again.
But just who is Jeffrey Sandusky, who has been largely out of sight since he was often seen accompanying his mother during the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach who is serving a minimum 30-year prison sentence after his conviction for serial sexual abuse of children?
Jeffrey Sandusky, 41, stands accused of trying to solicit nude photos and oral sex from two teenage sisters and is being held in the Centre County jail in lieu of $200,000 bail. Although one of his brothers, Matt, accused their father of abuse, Jeffrey was a staunch defender who often accompanied his mother, Dottie, to Jerry’s Sandusky’s trial. Jerry Sandusky was never charged in connection with Matt’s allegations.
Dottie Sandusky, who stood by her husband’s side during his trial and has continued to defend him, was emotional at her son’s hearing, according to CNN, and said he was innocent.
Jeffrey Sandusky, who has worked since August 2015 as a corrections officer at Rockview State Prison near State College, was suspended without pay Monday.
“All children have a right to be safe,” Centre County (Pa.) District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller told the Associated Press. “We will prosecute this case as aggressively as we do all child abuse cases.” As for Sandusky, she told the AP that he had “made statements. I wouldn’t classify them necessarily as directly inculpatory, but I don’t think they helped him much.”
Pennsylvania State Trooper Jay Pollick stated in arrest documents (via PennLive) that Jeffrey Sandusky had sent text messages to the girls in 2013 and 2016, saying at one point that his request was “not weird because he studied medicine” and that “nobody need to know” about the request. When she told him to stop with the requests, he told her to delete his texts, then asked for another photo of the girl. She refused and, when he told her they needed to talk, she replied, “You did what you did and I’m not going to give you a chance to try and justify it,” Pollick, who said he had seen the messages, wrote.
The girl also told him: “You literally tried to guilt me into doing it and you even told me specifically what I ‘needed’ to do. You know who does the? Rapists and abusers. … I don’t know how many times I need to tell you no and to stop before you get it.”
The girls’ mother told Pollick that Sandusky had claimed he was using “role play” to get the teen off the Internet. Jeffrey Sandusky advised her that he was sorry and didn’t remember what he had said and then opened up and advised he knows it was wrong and inappropriate,” Pollick wrote.
Both girls, whose ages were redacted in the statements, told the trooper that they did not feel safe with Sandusky, with the second girl saying he had done the same thing with her several years ago. A release from state police shows their ages as 16 and 15 when the crimes allegedly occurred.
Jeffrey Sandusky, whose mother accompanied him Monday, is charged with 14 counts of solicitation to statutory sexual assault, solicitation to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, solicitation to photographing sexual acts, unlawful contact with a minor, solicitation to sexual abuse of children and corruption of minors. Lance Marshall, his lawyer, declined to comment on the allegations. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 22.
The arrest brings attention back to the case of Jerry Sandusky, 73, who filed an appeal of his conviction in Bellefont, Pa., and the scandal that has cost Penn State roughly a quarter of a billion dollars, according to PennLive.
Estimating the cost to be at least $237 million, a $12 million verdict in the whistleblower and defamation case brought by former assistant coach Mike McQueary is included in the overall figure. McQueary’s testimony helped convict Sandusky, who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence after his conviction in 2012 on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. In addition, the university has settled with 33 people, paying $93 million, over allegations of sexual abuse by Sandusky. Also included is the $48 million the NCAA required that the school pay to fund anti-child-abuse efforts in Pennsylvania, $27 million in lawyer fees to defend lawsuits, nearly $14 million that includes the legal defense of three former administrators facing criminal charges for their handling of complaints about complaints and $5.3 million for crisis communications and other consultants. PennLive states that the school’s latest financial statement indicates that insurers have covered $30 million in costs, with other claims still outstanding.
“My dad is innocent,” Jeffrey Sandusky said in a 2015 interview with Bleacher Report‘s Jeff Pearlman. “I can guarantee you that. He’s innocent. Dad himself says he had boundary issues, meaning that he’d put a hand around your shoulder, he’d have his hand on my leg. Can that be taken the wrong way? Yes, and I get it. But he was not doing it to be a creeper, a perv. No, he was doing it to say I care about you.”
He also praised Dottie and Jerry.
“My mom and dad are amazing parents. Just amazing.”