Serial child sex abuse; what could Sandusky's wife have known? - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Serial child sex abuse; what could Sandusky's wife have known?

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Chattanooga native Dorothy 'Dottie' Gross Sandusky not only has been her husband Jerry's partner in life, and in the raising of six adopted children; but also in his 'Second Mile' charity.

Pennsylvania prosecutors allege the former Penn State defensive coordinator used Second Mile to find, groom and rape at least six young boys between 1994 and 2009.

Some of the alleged attacks are believed to have occurred in the couple's home.

So how, many ask, could Dottie Sandusky not have known?

"I've seen it both ways," clinical social worker Farlie Chastain says. "In which the family knows and is in denial."

"Because these people are good," Nurse Practitioner Allyson Neal says. "They are what you want them to be at any given moment."

"Very good at hiding it from everyone," Chastain says. "Very good at seducing the child and manipulating the child not to tell."

Neal and Chastain counsel and try to heal the Tennessee Valley's sexually abused children and teenagers, at Parkridge Valley and at Focus Psychiatric Services, PC.

Both tell us that many victims will blame themselves first; then lash out at their abuser's wife or husband for not stopping the attacks.

"There is an ample amount of blame and guilt to go around," Chastain says.

Both medical professionals believe we can protect our children best by teaching them that respect for authority does NOT mean allowing adults or other authority figures to hurt them, threaten them, or touch them in ways and places that make them feel uncomfortable.

Jerry Sandusky's 40 criminal charges force the issue for his wife.

'Devastation', Neal says, barely begins to describe the emotional stresses that the family of the accused endures.

"They start examining everything about their lives, about the time spent with this person, spent married to this person," she says.

"You look at an amount of guilt, shame and blame that they should have known," Chastain says. "Should have been able to recognize the symptoms and should have been able to protect their child."

"They start to doubt themselves," Neal says. "They feel if they missed that, what else did they miss?"

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