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Indeed, he added, “she didn’t see anything” because “they were in the bathroom.”

Child sexual abuse is typically perpetrated by men, many of whom are married, and there are indeed women and mothers who are complicit and really know what’s going on, analysts say.

But it’s also common for their wives to be “in denial, to be blind, deaf and dumb, when it comes to these acts,” said Dr. Frank Ochberg, who teaches clinical psychiatry at Michigan State University and is a former associate director at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Think about what it means to live your life with a man who’s living a lie and who has tremendous power and who has some perverted instincts and appetites,” Dr.Ochberg said.

It wasn’t all that long ago that women didn’t “dare speak back to your man,” he said. Also, some people’s personality types make them dependent, timid and trainable into a subordinate position.

Moreover, psychopaths know how to fool people, said Dr. Ochberg, who cautioned that he was not suggesting that Sandusky was a psychopath.

A psychopath has no conscience and therefore “has no capacity for feeling guilty,” remorse or concern for someone else’s pain, he said. They compensate by becoming very good at faking “normal” feelings and, in many cases, learn how to intimidate others either by force or through their personalities.

Pedophiles are “masters of deceit and deception,” said Ms. Ellison, a public speaker and author of “The Predator Next Door.”

Ms. Ellison can recall the horrible day in 2005 when she learned from FBI officials that her former husband, Phillip Todd Calvin, had been arrested in a sting operation on the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).

She was stunned to learn that her ex was no novice pedophile. He was a NAMBLA leader and was caught on his way with other men to engage in sex with boys. Her first thoughts were about the safety of their two children, their friends’ children and the children in the groups in which Calvin had volunteered.

Writing recently for the Daily Beast about Mrs. Sandusky, Ms. Ellison said it was possible for someone to “be married to a man for years, share a bed with him, raise children with him and still have no clue that he is a predator of young boys.”

Mrs. Sandusky’s circumstances make it even more likely, as she comes from a generation where women were expected to “stand by your man,” Ms. Ellison said Tuesday.

Also, as a wife, even if suspicions arise, “your mind does not go there,” said “Jasmine Black,” who created healingwives.com a decade ago as a resource for women whose husbands or partners are sex offenders. Jasmine Black is an alias, the woman said, which allows her to share her story and still protect her privacy and that of her husband and their children.

If Mrs. Sandusky is like other wives, “she’s in a grieving process,” said Ms. Black. “Their life and their marriage as they knew it is over, and I’m sure she feels alone - you really find out who your friends are.

“That’s why we tell women, ‘Get counseling. Get through one day at a time.’ “