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Birth mother: I raised questions about Jerry Sandusky
Question of the Day
Despite those concerns, probation and child welfare officials recommended continued placement with the Sandusky family, and the judge overseeing his case agreed.
Centre County President Judge Thomas Kistler, who joined the bench in 1997 and was not involved in Matt Sandusky’s juvenile case, said he saw “legitimate questions” about the decision to keep Ms. Long’s son in the Sandusky home, but “I can’t shed any light on them.”
Speaking generally, he said nearly every birth parent objects when the state decides to remove a child from the home.
“These kinds of decisions made by judges and social workers are very emotionally charged. I don’t think the parents have ever agreed with me on any of the cases where I’ve taken the kids,” he said.
In the early years of his relationship with Jerry Sandusky, Matt would hide behind a bedroom door and beg his mother to tell the coach he wasn’t home when he spotted Sandusky pulling in the driveway, Ms. Long said.
Her son never said why.
Ms. Long said Matt was a good kid but began acting out after Sandusky entered the picture, and his behavior got progressively worse. She became alarmed by Sandusky’s controlling behavior and tried to stop visitation in the fall of 1994.
“I didn’t like his treatment of Matt,” she said. “I thought he was a little too possessive, and it was my son, not his son.”
In early December 1994, Matt set fire to a barn. He spent his 16th birthday, on Dec. 26, in juvenile detention. On Jan. 6, 1995, records show, he was placed in foster care — with the Sandusky family.
Ms. Long said she knew Matt would be placed in a Second Mile foster home but didn’t think it would be with the Sanduskys. Of all the foster families in Centre County, “he had to end up with that one,” she said. It struck her as odd.
“Jerry told Matt that he had a judge ready to sign the order and nobody could stop it,” she said. “He told Matt before we ever went to court that I wouldn’t win against him. Matt came right to me and told me, he said, ‘Mom, Jerry said you wouldn’t win against him.’”
Ms. Long initially was limited to a half-day a month with her son. Her lawyer repeatedly petitioned the judge for greater access.
Matt Sandusky attempted suicide in March 1996, swallowing 80 to 100 pills, according to the probation department report.
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