An Added Word
Traits of a pedophile: Sandusky & the psychology behind it
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 23:10
All eyes were on Jerry Sandusky Tuesday morning as he arrived for his sentencing hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte in a burgundy prison suit. He is prepared to appeal the charges against him and said he believes the testimony of one victim brought other victims to the same conclusion, according to a tape leaked by PSU Com Media.
However, Judge Jon Cleland saw things differently and sentenced Sandusky to at least 30 years in prison and said Sandusky “abused the trust of those who trusted” him. Cleland admitted that he expects Sandusky to die in prison before serving his minimum sentence. Sandusky will not be eligible for parole until 2042.
The sentencing could be looked at as the end of the scandal, but it never will be. The boys he was charged with abusing will always be scarred, Joe Paterno will no longer be revered in the history books as the winningest NCAA football coach and the impact of the case will last a lifetime.
With the sentencing officially behind us now, the media circus can finally pack its bags and hit the road. The next week will probably be filled with countless ESPN headlines, Fox News analyzing the abuse of children on Fox and Friends and Jon Stewart putting his own spin on the proceedings. However, once the mania dies down, fans can be released from the hysteria and not feel the need to compartmentalize testimonies and form opinions on a person.
In a recent The New Yorker commentary entitled “In Plain View,” Malcolm Gladwell examines the mind of a pedophile stemming from the Sandusky mania. He cites research from Carla van Dam and says that Sandusky was not only a predator, but knew how to be one without scaring the kids. The piece outlines the process of becoming a pedophile, from establishing contact to gage how a child will react to engaging in playful behavior if the child seems ok with the acts to sexual abuse.
The mind of a pedophile is thesubject of van Dam’s book Identifying Child Molesters and provides glimpses into interesting patterns of pedophiles that many swear to have seen in Sandusky, including his playful and touchy-feely personality that appeared to help him to gain the trust of children at The Second Mile.
His playful attitude wasn’t there Tuesday, and the children that have now grown up were no longer joking around with their mentor. It was a somber attitude as victims saw their abuser put behind bars. The personality of a pedophile was no longer present, instead there was a dejected man who tried to plead out of his sentence as he realized he was going to jail for what the judge assumed would be the rest of his life.
Pedophilia will never be okay, innocent children shouldn’t be taken advantage of because of their tendency to trust quickly.
Many have spoken of Sandusky’s playful, carefree attitude and how the abuse came as a shock to them, but according to van Dam this attitude may have been a shield to help him commit these acts against these children. Psychologists will probably always argue over the characteristics of a pedophile and distinct traits to look out for, but one thing that will not be heavily disputed by any person is that what Sandusky was wrong and inexcusable. Not even 30 years in and what the judge assumes is inevitable death in prison will erase what he did.