Psychologist: ‘Victim 1’ of Jerry Sandusky had to be placed in witness protection because of threats from community

As the Penn State community continues deal with the ramifications of Jerry Sandusky’s conviction and the damaging Freeh Report, USA Today has hit them with yet another blow. It all centers around the victim that really got the ball rolling in the Jerry Sandusky case, the victim that referred to as “Victim 1” in court documents.

USA Today was able to speak with Victim 1’s psychologist, Michael Gillum. Gillum counseled the victim as well as sitting in on police interviews and grand jury sessions. So in other words, Gillum intimately knows details that other do not.

Gillum outlines how Victim 1 struggled with coming forward with his abuse and the backlash he received from the community for doing so.

It all started back in 2008.

“From the first time we met,” Gillum said, “he was fearful that he would be killed. He believed that Jerry Sandusky could have him killed.”

Gillum then outlines the story Victim 1 told him about being abused by Jerry Sandusky.

It was Nov. 20, 2008, and his two visitors had come straight from a disturbing meeting at a local high school where the boy told a counselor that Sandusky, then a volunteer football coach at the school, had engaged in unspecific inappropriate conduct with him.

“He was so anxious, he was shaking,” Gillum now recalls.

In the two hours that followed, the psychologist said, the boy provided enough information — incidents of fondling, kissing and other inappropriate contact — that “indicated Jerry Sandusky as a child sex abuser.”

The conclusion triggered a series of notifications and telephone calls to the Pennsylvania State Police, to Sandusky’s charity for troubled children, known as The Second Mile, and to the boy’s high school, where officials were notified of the claims against Sandusky.

The county report resulted in Sandusky’s required separation from the school pending the resolution of the allegations.

The public backlash, Gillum said, was almost immediate and jarring. Within weeks, the boy’s mother reported to state investigators that she was confronted in a Lock Haven business by an unhappy local resident who had learned that her son had been linked to the allegations triggering Sandusky’s removal as a volunteer.

The child’s identity spread rapidly through the community, the psychologist said, making him and his mother the target of harassment — and ultimately threats of harm — by locals upset that Sandusky had been dismissed from the school.

“We started putting a (witness) relocation plan together almost from the first week,” Gillum said, adding that an undisclosed sum of county money was dedicated to the effort. “There was huge fear.”

Fast forward to last November. Victim 1 is now in high school and details of the grand jury’s findings have come to light. And the threats continue.

Tense encounters with fellow students after the release of the graphic grand jury report led to the victim’s transfer midway through the school year.

Gillum said the move became necessary after some students, angered that the allegations would taint Penn State and the reign of legendary coach Joe Paterno, began making physical threats against his young client.

Wow. Just wow. Guess this explains why Penn State students feel the need to protect a statue. Just a totally different mentality in State College.

There’s a lot more to be read in this, so take the time to comb through it. It is definitely worth it.

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