Silent No More: Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky

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9780345544162: Silent No More: Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky
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Victim 1, at fourteen years of age, spoke up against Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State scandal, and now for the first time tells his story.

Aaron Fisher was a eager and spirited eleven-year-old when legendary Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky recruited him into his Second Mile children’s charity. Offering support at a critical time in Aaron’s life, Sandusky gave him gifts and attention, winning the boy’s trust even as he isolated him from his family and peers. Before long, Sandusky’s attention escalated into sexual assault. When Aaron summoned the courage to speak up, he found himself ostracized and harassed by the very people who were supposed to protect him. The investigation set off by his coming forward would drag on for three years—and would launch the biggest scandal in the history of sports.

In Silent No More, Aaron Fisher recounts his harrowing quest to bring Sandusky’s crimes to light—from the intense feelings of guilt that kept him from speaking up earlier and the fear he felt at accusing a man who was a pillar of the community and a hero to the largest alumni network in the world, to the infuriating delays in the arrest and conviction of his abuser. He catalogs the devastating personal toll the case took on him: the shattered relationships, panic attacks, and betrayal of trust that continued to haunt him even after the charges went public in the fall of 2011. But he also speaks of his mother’s desperate efforts to get him out of harm’s way, the invaluable help of psychologist Michael Gillum, and the vindication he felt at inspiring numerous other victims to step forward . . . and at knowing that, thanks to him, there would be no future victims of Jerry Sandusky.

In the end, Aaron Fisher won his fight to expose the truth, achieving some measure of closure. Told in the honest and unforgettable voices of Aaron; his mother, Dawn; and his psychologist, Mike, this inspiring book completes Aaron’s transformation from a nameless casualty into a resounding voice for change.

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About the Author:

Aaron Fisher plans to attend college after high school and someday become a Pennsylvania state trooper. Along with Mike Gillum, Aaron intends to tour various schools on behalf of the Let Go . . . Let Peace Come In Foundation, helping to educate children, teachers, and parents about the nature of child sexual abuse and its prevention. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Mike Gillum, M.A., is a licensed psychologist and a specialist in child abuse, sexual abuse, and other criminal behavior. The recipient of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s 2012 Psychology in the Media Award, he offers his expertise as a consultant throughout the state for law enforcement, county courts, school districts, and human service agencies, including children and youth services. He is on the board of directors of the Let Go . . . Let Peace Come In Foundation, which supports victims of child sexual abuse. He lives with his wife and children in Pennsylvania.

Dawn Daniels is a fundraiser in her school district, working with local sports teams and cheerleading squads. She lives in Pennsylvania with her three children.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

What I Wish I’d Known Then

Dawn

Looking back, it was all right there in front of me. I beat myself up every day. None of what happened to my child is behind me, nor will it ever be. Think about when your kid falls down and scrapes his knee. You figure that you should have been closer behind so you could have caught him. Or maybe you should have made sure he was wearing different shoes, or should have tied his laces better. As a mother, when something bad happens to your child, you blame yourself.

I still lie awake at night while the questions haunt me. How could I not have known? How could I not have seen the signs? Was I really that blind? Was I so stupid that I didn’t figure it all out sooner? I am not a stupid woman. I tell myself that I was up against a man far more powerful than me, but it’s still no excuse in my mind. There are some who understand. I also know there are people who blame me. I read the blogs and websites with all of their comments. One person said I was far from mother of the year. Another said I let my little boy go to an old man’s house so that I could party.

Here’s the thing: I did not let my child go with a stranger. I let my child go with someone who was a “pillar of the community.” Someone whom everyone worshipped and thought was every kid’s savior. Those people who call me names and condemn me? I think to myself, if you people only knew how I was fooled. If you only knew how Jerry made himself a part of our family. I met his wife. I played with his dog. But above all I trusted him, and one of the reasons I trusted him was that everyone else did, too. He founded the Second Mile, which billed itself as a charity camp for children who need direction and hope. How was I supposed to know?

I still have no place for the guilt. I have nightmares now where I can see that basement room where Jerry Sandusky had my child. Even now as Sandusky sits in jail, my guilt is relentless. I didn’t think something like this could happen in a million years. Not with a guy like Sandusky. Maybe it was something that I didn’t want to believe, because we often don’t see what we don’t want to believe. What Jerry did to my son will remain unforgivable, but I have a hard time forgiving myself, too. But then, this is not about me. This is about my son.

I’m thirty-­six years old and the mother of three children. Aaron is eighteen, Katie is fourteen, and Bubby is eleven. Lately, I am known more as Aaron’s mother because he had the courage to come forward. He now has the title of Jerry Sandusky’s Victim 1 and I wish that had never been his fate. I am proud of his courage but I wish that he never had to be looked upon as a hero for something like this.

I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to take care of my kids, which isn’t easy when you’re on your own. I’m lucky to have my parents, a sister, and friends whom I can depend on and trust. The problem is that now I don’t trust people the way I used to. I never will again.

When I got pregnant with Aaron, I was seventeen and lived in Daytona Beach, Florida, with Aaron’s father, Michael. We were childhood sweethearts from high school and ran off together. It was like the movies. We were the couple who drove around town in his Mustang with the radio playing. One time, when Michael was teaching me how to drive, I wrecked that Mustang and crashed it so bad that my skull was fractured. I have the scars to show for it. After my injuries healed, we just took off. Crazy kids, I guess.

Michael and I had a way of living that was all well and good when we were kids, but once I got pregnant, I grew up real quick—­much faster than I’d planned on. When I was three months pregnant, something kicked in and I just knew then that Michael wasn’t the kind of person I could raise a child with. I moved back home to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, with my mom and dad.

Lock Haven is a small town, and most of the people either know you or know someone who knows you, and those of us who’ve stayed there have known one another since we were kids. The town has about ten thousand people and it’s only about three square miles. My older sister still lives in the area with her husband. They don’t have kids and won’t have kids and they have a good life. We’re close in the way that sisters are close when their lives are different. My parents are just a few miles away in the next town. I have roots here and so do my kids.

So, there I was, pregnant with my baby, when I met a guy named Cliff, who wasn’t from town. He worked construction in the area but he was from Kentucky. When you’re eighteen, single, and pregnant, life is not easy. Cliff swept me off my feet and didn’t seem to mind when I had the baby six months later. Aaron and I moved with him to Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, where he got a job at the paper mill. Johnsonburg is only about a ninety-­minute drive from Lock Haven, so Cliff and I came back every weekend with Aaron and spent time with my folks. He was getting divorced and had two kids, so he wasn’t a stranger to babies. He was a good guy and I felt like I was beginning a decent life for myself and my son.

One day, when Aaron was about three months old, Michael drove up to our house in Johnsonburg. Somehow he had found us. It was around ten o’clock at night and he said that he wanted to have a look at the baby. He said “the” baby, not “his” baby. I had always told him that he could see his boy, and I had no intention of keeping him from his son or keeping his son from him. Michael just looked at Aaron. He didn’t touch him or hold him or anything. He just looked at him and said he looked just fine and then he drove away.

The next time Michael saw Aaron, Aaron was almost a year old. I’d taken him to visit with his paternal grandmother in Maryland. We were at a mall in Columbia and I took him on the carousel, which, I was surprised to find, Michael was working at. I don’t think even Michael’s mother knew he was working there. Michael wasn’t at all interested in Aaron. His mother took some pictures of Aaron and me, and then we left and Aaron hasn’t seen his father since.

I’ve always been honest with Aaron about his father. I’ve told him about things that his father and I did together and all the fun times we had, and I never said anything bad about Michael to him. I’ve even offered to take him to see his father if he ever wanted to. Right around the time Jerry was arrested, Michael went to jail. I found that out right before the Sandusky trial started and I didn’t hide it from Aaron. I showed Aaron his father’s picture on the Internet and he read the news story about the case. I just think that it’s always better to know the truth. The truth that his father was in jail was hard on Aaron, especially given the nature of the crime : On Michael’s mugshot, it clearly stated that Michael is a registered sex offender.

Now, Cliff and I never did get married, although we came close. We were together until Aaron was almost five. We got a house and lived in Tennessee for a bit, and then we lived in West Virginia for a while. When we lived in West Virginia, Aaron was just over a year old and my parents were missing him. They started asking if they could take him for a weekend here and there, so we’d meet halfway and do the baby swap. I knew it was great for them and for Aaron, but every time I handed him over to my parents, I’d drive away feeling empty-­handed and start to cry. It started out with Aaron just spending weekends with my folks, and then it grew to a weekend plus part of the week. If the time between visits got any longer, my parents would say how it had been a month since they’d seen him, so when were they going to get him again? We’d meet at a steakhouse in Staunton, Virginia, have dinner, and swap out again. During those times when Aaron was with my folks, I worked with Cliff. When Aaron was back home with me, I stayed at home with him.

I started out as a fire watch, and when Cliff and I were in West Virginia we worked as a welding team. I’d gotten my certification because Cliff always said that girls make better welders than guys; he said they’re steadier with their hands. I also worked in construction and at a plant where they made wood chips. Cliff and I were often alone in the plant at night and for fun we’d race Bobcat loaders around in the fields. We were still really kids, even though we both had kids of our own, and we were having a great time. It was good knowing that my baby was safe and happy with my parents.

Cliff’s older brother and his wife drove a semi truck and we traveled all over the place with them, hitting all of the amusement parks along the way. We drove as far as California, and during the O. J. Simpson trial we even got thrown off Nicole Brown Simpson’s property as we snooped around. We went to Disneyland and Magic Mountain and Six Flags and toured Los Angeles. One time when we were back east, we took a picture of Aaron at the wheel of the semi. He was about three.

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Victim 1, at fourteen years of age, spoke up against Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State scandal, and now for the first time tells his story. Aaron Fisher was an eager and spirited eleven-year-old when legendary Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky recruited him into his Second Mile children s charity. Offering support at a critical time in Aaron s life, Sandusky gave him gifts and attention, winning the boy s trust even as he isolated him from his family and peers. Before long, Sandusky s attention escalated into sexual assault. When Aaron summoned the courage to speak up, he found himself ostracized and harassed by the very people who were supposed to protect him. The investigation set off by his coming forward would drag on for three years--and would launch the biggest scandal in the history of sports. In Silent No More, Aaron Fisher recounts his harrowing quest to bring Sandusky s crimes to light--from the intense feelings of guilt that kept him from speaking up earlier and the fear he felt at accusing a man who was a pillar of the community and a hero to the largest alumni network in the world, to the infuriating delays in the arrest and conviction of his abuser. He catalogs the devastating personal toll the case took on him: the shattered relationships, panic attacks, and betrayal of trust that continued to haunt him even after the charges went public in the fall of 2011. But he also speaks of his mother s desperate efforts to get him out of harm s way, the invaluable help of psychologist Michael Gillum, and the vindication he felt at inspiring numerous other victims to step forward . . . and at knowing that, thanks to him, there would be no future victims of Jerry Sandusky. In the end, Aaron Fisher won his fight to expose the truth, achieving some measure of closure. Told in the honest and unforgettable voices of Aaron; his mother, Dawn; and his psychologist, Mike, this inspiring book completes Aaron s transformation from a nameless casualty into a resounding voice for change. Seller Inventory # AAS9780345544162

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Victim 1, at fourteen years of age, spoke up against Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State scandal, and now for the first time tells his story. Aaron Fisher was an eager and spirited eleven-year-old when legendary Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky recruited him into his Second Mile children s charity. Offering support at a critical time in Aaron s life, Sandusky gave him gifts and attention, winning the boy s trust even as he isolated him from his family and peers. Before long, Sandusky s attention escalated into sexual assault. When Aaron summoned the courage to speak up, he found himself ostracized and harassed by the very people who were supposed to protect him. The investigation set off by his coming forward would drag on for three years--and would launch the biggest scandal in the history of sports. In Silent No More, Aaron Fisher recounts his harrowing quest to bring Sandusky s crimes to light--from the intense feelings of guilt that kept him from speaking up earlier and the fear he felt at accusing a man who was a pillar of the community and a hero to the largest alumni network in the world, to the infuriating delays in the arrest and conviction of his abuser. He catalogs the devastating personal toll the case took on him: the shattered relationships, panic attacks, and betrayal of trust that continued to haunt him even after the charges went public in the fall of 2011. But he also speaks of his mother s desperate efforts to get him out of harm s way, the invaluable help of psychologist Michael Gillum, and the vindication he felt at inspiring numerous other victims to step forward . . . and at knowing that, thanks to him, there would be no future victims of Jerry Sandusky. In the end, Aaron Fisher won his fight to expose the truth, achieving some measure of closure. Told in the honest and unforgettable voices of Aaron; his mother, Dawn; and his psychologist, Mike, this inspiring book completes Aaron s transformation from a nameless casualty into a resounding voice for change. Seller Inventory # AAS9780345544162

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