Mar. 25, 2012
Psychologist sounded alarm on Sandusky in 1998
Matt Carroll | Centre (Pa.) Daily Times
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A State College psychologist warned police in 1998 that Jerry Sandusky’s behavior fit the profile of a likely pedophile.
Alycia Chambers, who treated one of Sandusky’s alleged victims, told Penn State police at the time that Sandusky showered with a then-11-year-old boy and grabbed and bear-hugged him.
In light of her findings, Chambers said Saturday she was surprised more wasn’t done by authorities at the time.
This despite an evaluation of the alleged victim by a second psychologist, who concluded Sandusky did not fit the profile of a pedophile.
Chambers said her initial concerns turned to horror in November when Sandusky was charged with 50 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 alleged victims and dating back more than a decade.
“Who could be anything but horrified in knowing this went unchecked for 14 years,” Chambers told the Centre Daily Times on Saturday.
The psychological evaluations, released along with internal police documents Saturday morning by NBC, raise new questions about the 1998 police investigation into Sandusky.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers, said Saturday that the university would have no comment due to ongoing investigations.
The former Penn State defensive coordinator maintains his innocence and is awaiting trial in the case. His attorney, Joe Amendola, on Saturday questioned Chambers’ interview of the boy.
Amendola pointed to the second evaluation, performed by psychologist John Seasock, who concluded Sandusky’s behavior did not match that of a pedophile’s. Amendola said the conflicting conclusions from the two psychological reports could raise reasonable doubt for a jury.
Howard Janet, the attorney for the alleged victim, identified in court papers as Victim 6, asked why police sought a second evaluation.
In a statement released Saturday evening, Janet asked why reports, such as the one by Chambers, of inappropriate contact between Sandusky and young boys on the Penn State campus were ignored.
“Much of the evidence coming to light points to a conspiracy of silence surrounding Sandusky’s behavior at the expense of children,” he said in the statement.
In her report, Chambers said she was first contacted by the boy’s mother at 7:43 a.m. Monday, May 4.
The night before, her son returned home from spending time with Sandusky and explained that his hair was wet because the pair had showered together. “(His mother) said, ‘I need you to tell me I’m crazy,’ because she did not want to believe her suspicions were true,” Chambers said in her report.
Chambers saw the boy that day, and reported he seemed visibly anxious and kept repeating, ‘I don’t think he (Sandusky) meant anything by it,’ ” she said in the papers.
The boy admitted he was uncomfortable, but was also worried about jeopardizing his relationship with Sandusky, who had promised him he could sit on the bench at football games, Chambers wrote.
She consulted with colleagues without sharing specific names, released information to the state child abuse line and released a report to Ronald Schreffler, an investigator with Penn State police.
“My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a ‘loving, special’ relationship,” Chambers said in her report.
She said Sandusky might have even recognized his behavior as a typical pedophile “overture” because of his position at The Second Mile.
Based on his interview of the boy, Seasock found in his report that no sexual contact took place, and that there was no grooming, a behavior associated with pedophiles.
“(The alleged victim) had not been groomed for future sexual behavior, nor did a situation of inappropriate sexual behavior occur,” Seasock wrote in his report. Seasock said the boy’s description of wrestling “appeared to be more along the lines of horseplay,” behavior indicative of a “male coach.”
Chambers said Saturday it would be surprising if the boy had divulged what allegedly occurred to a male psychologist he just met.
“I don’t know why anyone, much less someone with experience with child abuse, would expect a child of this age to be brought in with a male stranger ... and in an hour interview speak the truth,” she said. “Especially when a man he knew much better (allegedly) did these things in the shower just a couple of days before.”
Amendola, however, questioned Chambers’ report. He asked if there was any testing done or scientific data taken.
“My people are telling me that those characteristics the doctor said (Sandusky) exhibited ... you’re going to find in people who are perfectly healthy and don’t have any pedophiliac inclinations or tendencies,” Amendola said.
He said Sandusky had been dealing for years with children from broken homes and felt that showing them love was important.
Sandusky said the boy kept in touch with him after the shower incident, according to Amendola. Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, sponsored the boy on a mission trip, let him borrow their car, and even had lunch with him last year.
Amendola also questioned the timing of the release of the report, which came two days after he filed pretrial motions that included a request to dismiss the case, and days after a judge ordered prosecutors to release psychological profiles of the alleged victims.
When asked if the university would investigate who leaked the report, Powers said Penn State would not comment.
In an email, she said: “The university can have no comment on issues related to the Sandusky investigations in the past or present, except that we are fully cooperating with the attorney general and the independent investigation conducted by Judge Louis Freeh on behalf of the Penn State Independent Board of Trustees Task Force.”
Staff writer Mike Dawson contributed to this report.