A recent article about Jerry Sandusky’s wife who “doesn’t believe” her husband is guilty, no matter what the jury thought. Got me to thinking how some people just can not “believe” the truth, even when it hits them in the face. I’m not throwing stones, I was one of those people who just could not internalize my son’s guilt. Unlike Mrs. Sandusky though, I don’t believe he is innocent, and yet I still could not truly “believe” what a monster he was.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — It was long after former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been arrested, tried and convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys before his wife said she realized just how much trouble he was in.
In an interview this week at her home in State College, Dottie Sandusky said she still had hope even after his 45-count guilty verdict. But when the judge handed down a 30- to 60-year prison term, she said she fully comprehended his predicament.
“I think it was at the sentencing,” she said during a 90-minute interview at her dining room table. “I mean, I really and truly believe, I believe in, when you tell the truth and who you are, that things work out.”
Jerry Sandusky, 70, was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing boys over 15 years but maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals. The scandal brought down the Penn State president and storied head coach Joe Paterno and eventually led the school to pay nearly $60 million to settle civil claims. Three former Penn State administrators await trial on charges they covered up allegations against Sandusky.
You can read the full article here.
There really isn’t any doubt in anyone’s mind, except Mrs. Sandusky, that Jerry Sandusky did what he was convicted of: molesting young boys for years. Having met and talked with many parents and spouses of inmates back in the days when I waited in long lines with them to visit my son in prison, even those who knew that “Junior” or “daddy,” who was in for his 5th or 10th crime, didn’t seem to be able to accept that he wasn’t going to change, even if they did realize s/he did what s/he was convicted for.
I’m not “throwing stones” at these people who “support unconditionally” the offenders in their lives, and there are a few offenders who do “go straight,” but the recidivism rate for all felony offenders, tracked over a 20 year period is about 80% reoffending. Of course, just like Jerry Sandusky tells his wife he is innocent, Patrick told me he was innocent and his attorney would ”prove” it. Then after the conviction, he told me his attorney said he COULD and would over turn it on appeal. Of course that was a lie. The lawyer didn’t tell him that, and the evidence of his guilt was overwhelming.
My mother knows Patrick is guilty of killing Jessica but even though she knows the truth of his guilt, she still can’t “believe” he can’t and hasn’t changed because he feeds her a pack of lies that are what she wants to believe….Oh grandma I’ve found Jezus”.
Like Mrs. Sandusky, for over a year I couldn’t bring myself to “believe” he did it. I knew, actually, in my heart, that he had killed Jessica, but I didn’t want to “believe.” Even after I did know he was guilty, I kept on visiting him and “not talking about the elephant in the room.”
Bernie Madoff’s wife also had difficulty “believing” what her husband was guilty of, even having her sons go “no contact” with her husband, and because she supported “dad” the sons went no contact with her as well she still had difficulty “believing.”. Then one of their sons committed suicide. The last I heard Mrs. Madoff had finally realized that her husband was an evil troll who ruined the lives of many people and many charities who “invested” with him.
Women and men who stay with an abusive spouse also seem to have difficulty “believing” that things are as “bad as they are” and make excuses or even refuse to believe they are abused…they blame themselves for the abuse. Many parents whose kids don’t “turn out well” also blame themselves for their children’s offenses., or one parent will blame the partner for the offspring’s behavior.
When we come upon a horrible accident with people gravely injured, it is difficult for us to believe our eyes…we go into denial. Denial in the SHORT is very beneficial, it keeps us from being overwhelmed with something so bad we can’t take it in all at once. Just like you have probably eaten several entire cows in your life, but you ate them one bite at a time. Denial also lets us eat something too big to swallow all at once. LONG term though, denial is very detrimental because it keeps us from recognizing a problem and seeking a solution. We can’t take ACTION to fix something that we won’t believe is broken.
Sometimes, with offenders at least, when we recognize that there is a “big problem” the only “action” we can take to “fix” the problem with that person is to get away and STAY away (No Contact). If we have acted as “supply” for that person then they may try to hook us back in by using the Pity Ploy (boy did I fall for that) and other “Plays” out of the “Offender’s playbook.”
I hurt for Mrs. Sandusky and for Mrs. Madoff and all the men and women who just can’t “believe” the truth even when it is TOTALLY OBVIOUS. But all I can do for these men and women who hurt due to their own disbelief is to pray for them that they will come to “believe” and then get onto the “healing road” and not let someone else’s behavior ruin the rest of their lives.