By Patrick Perion-
(Editor’s Note: Patrick has been a child abuse investigator since 1994 and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He will weigh in with his thoughts as a special 670TheScore.com contributor throughout the Jerry Sandusky Trial. Patrick is otherwise known as “Quad City Pat”, a frequent caller to the Boers & Bernstein Show.)
(CBS) I’ve been approached by several people on Twitter and email asking for information about how many boys Jerry Sandusky actually molested. I’ve also been asked about the age at which predators start preying on children. We know that he was found guilty of sexually abusing and raping 10 boys.
There are a lot more.
First some general statistics. Latest national data on sexual abuse of children shows that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-10 boys report abuse. Approximately 1-in-6 boys are actually abused. We also know that in general serial sexual abusers abuse an average of 117 children. Those are scary numbers.
In Sandusky’s particular case, I suspect that he started the serial child rape when he was between 16 and 18. This is a guess, but it’s one educated by 18 years of dealing with the Jerry Sanduskys of the world.
Serial child rape — as with adult rape — is about power and control. We know from the Sandusky trial that all of his victims were between the ages of 10 and 15. Due to this, it can be surmised that Sandusky could have between 16 and 18 when the serial nature of his abuse started. In order to gain power and control, at those ages predators are generally bigger and stronger than their prey.
I pointedly stated that the serial nature of his predation probably started when he was in his late teens. It’s entirely possible that his first sexual assault of someone else happened earlier in life. I’ve dealt with predators that have stated that they first abused a younger child when they were seven or eight.
It should also be pointed out that Sandusky may not have been the victim of child rape himself. Prison studies of serial child rapists show that a higher percentage of convicted child rapists say they were severely physically abused as children. Many of them were sexually assaulted, but in most major studies, they claim either sexual or physical abuse, hardly ever claiming both.
Later in life, Sandusky used the Second Mile charity and his status at Penn State to cultivate his prey and keep them silent after he brutalized them. Judging again by the trial records, he abused two boys a year. Simple math shows that his total in fifty years would be a hundred boys. However when you factor in the under reporting of male victims, those two boys per year may have been as many as four or five. Making the total as high as 200-250.
In this case, bet the over.
Patrick is a 1990 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport IA. He’s been working in child welfare since 1988. Since 1994, he has been a child abuse investigator and has interviewed thousands of children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect. He was certified in forensic interviewing of child sexual abuse victims in 1999 and received an advanced certification in 2001. He’s also been a trainer of forensic interviewing for child welfare professionals and law enforcement officials. On a personal note, he out kicked his coverage in marrying his wife Nicole and he has two wonderful daughters. Follow Patrick on Twitter @QuadCityPat and read his blog. He is not a spokesperson for his employer and his opinions are his own.