Sandusky's son talks about dad's sex abuse

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Sandusky's son talks about dad's sex abuse

From Comcast SportsNet
Nearly two decades before Matt Sandusky's blockbuster allegation that he was sexually abused by his adoptive father, his biological mother raised questions about their relationship. Debra Long fought the court system over her son's placement in the home of the famed Penn State assistant football coach, who was convicted Friday of sexually abusing 10 boys. Her objections, which she discussed in a December interview with The Associated Press, add a new dimension to the grim trial testimony that illustrated how Sandusky wooed the victims he culled from his charity for at-risk youth. Prosecutors said Sandusky used gifts, trips and access to Penn State's vaunted football program to attract and abuse vulnerable boys he met through the charity, The Second Mile. "If they'd have listened, these boys didn't have to be abused," Long said. "They would have found the problem back then, and a whole lot of kids wouldn't be victims now." Instead, she said, "we couldn't get anything done. It was Jerry Sandusky. He started The Second Mile home. He could've done nothing wrong." Matt Sandusky said that Jerry Sandusky, once Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno's heir apparent, began sexually abusing him in the late 1980s, when he was 8 years old, and continued until he was 15, according to a police interview recording that NBC aired Tuesday. He was placed in foster care with the Sandusky family in January 1995, about a month after he set fire to a barn and several months after Long tried to cut him off from Sandusky and The Second Mile. Matt Sandusky, who was adopted after he turned 18, described for investigators showering with the ex-coach and trying to avoid being groped in bed, according to the police recording. He said he was undergoing therapy, that his memories of abuse were only now surfacing and that he was coming forward so his family would know what happened. His attorneys confirmed the recording's authenticity to the AP, but declined to comment beyond a statement. "Although the tape was released without Matt's knowledge or permission, it illustrates that he made the difficult decision to come forward and tell the painful truth to investigators despite extraordinary pressure to support his father," the lawyers, Justine Andronici and Andrew Shubin, wrote in the statement. Jerry Sandusky hasn't been charged with abusing his son. Unless Matt Sandusky alleges rape, which he didn't do in the police recording, the ex-coach cannot be charged criminally based on his son's accusations, because of the statute of limitations. In the December interview with the AP, Long said that Sandusky was pushy, was controlling and estranged Matt from his birth family -- but that Centre County's court system ignored her concerns because of Sandusky's stature. Long did not return several messages left for her on Monday and Tuesday. Records provided to AP by Long in December show that after Matt Sandusky attempted suicide in 1996, his probation officer wrote, "The probation department has some serious concerns about the juvenile's safety and his current progress in placement with the Sandusky family." 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 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, Long said. Her son never said why. "Nobody could ever get that out of him. But then again, Matt was afraid of Jerry," she said. 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. But Sandusky continued taking Matt out of school, without her knowledge or consent, she said. "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. Long said she knew Matt would be placed in a Second Mile foster home but didn't think it would be with the Sandusky family. 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.'" Long was initially limited to a half-day a month with her son. Her lawyer repeatedly petitioned the judge for greater access. Matt attempted suicide in March 1996, swallowing 80 to 100 pills, according to the probation department report. He referred to it in the recent police interview. "I know that I really wanted to die at that point in time," he said. But he nevertheless indicated he wanted to remain in the Sandusky home. "I would like to be placed back with the Sandusky's, I feel that they have supported me even when I have messed up," Matt Sandusky wrote shortly after the suicide attempt. "They are a loving caring group of people." Long said she once called the Sandusky house when Matt's biological brother, Ronald, was in an accident. She said Sandusky's wife, Dottie, answered the phone and said, "What are you calling him for? It's no longer his brother." "I said, I'm sorry, but the same blood courses through his veins (that) courses through his brother's veins. They're not separated by a name change,'" Long recalled. "She was downright rude." The AP was unable to contact Dottie Sandusky. Jerry and Dottie Sandusky couldn't conceive children, according to his autobiography, and adopted six children. None of the other five has commented on their father's legal case or Matt Sandusky's allegations. Messages left for them were not returned. Matt Sandusky said, according to the NBC recording, that he decided to come forward after publicly standing by his dad, for his family, "so that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is. And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying."

James Shields' first bullpen session a success

James Shields' first bullpen session a success

PHOENIX -- James Shields’ first bullpen on Wednesday went so well that he’s already scheduled for another on Friday.

The White Sox pitcher already has his eyes on the next few steps he’ll take, which potentially could include a three-inning simulated game on Monday. On the 10-day disabled list retroactive to April 21 with a lat muscle strain, Shields is very encouraged only three weeks after he was shut down. He’s one of several White Sox pitchers who have made good progress of late along with Carlos Rodon, Nate Jones, Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam.

“I can’t feel anything right now,” Shields said. “Just trying to build up arm strength as quickly as possible. Surprisingly it’s back a little bit quicker than I thought. It’s actually coming out pretty good.”

“It went really well. Threw 30 pitches. All my pitches. With some good effort.”

Shields has gone from frustrated to upbeat over the last 11 days. He began to play catch when the team started it’s 10-game road trip and hasn’t had a setback. The right-hander and the club are mapping out what Shields will do next based on how he’s responding.

“We are trying to figure that out right now,” Shields said. “I think tentatively I’m going to do almost like a three inning bullpen on Monday. That’s kind of how far I’ve gotten right now.

“Everything feels really good.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

From a physical standpoint, Putnam’s first time off a mound was good. He just wasn’t as pleased with how he threw on Tuesday night.

Putnam, on the DL with right elbow inflammation, had thrown multiple flat-ground bullpens before he moved to the mound for the first time in a month. While he wasn’t thrilled with the first effort, he wasn’t surprised, either.

“Even if you have a completely healthy arm, you know a month off the mound and you get back up there, you will have some aches and pains,” Putnam said. “I’m not disappointed. I’m not frustrated. I’ve got to build up.

“Having this be the first time in a while, I’m not concerned about it at all.

“It’s not a linear process. There’s going to be some ups and there will be some downs. If it were just kind of every other day you go throw and you feel a little better than last time, that would be great. I would love that. But it’s not always that way. I learned that last year. I’m just trying to be cognizant of that as we go forward.”

Wagner, Wilson make NBA Draft decisions: One Michigan forward returning to Ann Arbor, another turning pro

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USA TODAY

Wagner, Wilson make NBA Draft decisions: One Michigan forward returning to Ann Arbor, another turning pro

Michigan will get one of its star forwards back for next season, while another is turning pro.

Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson announced their decisions Wednesday: Wagner will return to Ann Arbor for his junior season, while Wilson will keep his name in the NBA Draft.

Both players took advantage of rules allowing underclassmen to test out the NBA Draft process, receive feedback and then decide whether to return to school with their NCAA eligibility intact.

While both are seen as future pros, Wilson has received a lot more NBA hype and is being forecasted as a potential first-round pick in next month's draft. Draft Express' latest mock draft has Wilson going late in the first round.

Wagner and Wilson both factored big in Michigan's exciting late-season run that included a Big Ten Tournament championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament's Sweet Sixteen. The Wolverines won 12 of their final 15 games including six straight after a harrowing experience on the team plane that included an aborted takeoff and a skid off the runway en route to the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C.

Wagner scored 17 points in a win over Minnesota in the semifinal round of the conference tournament and dropped a whopping 26 points in a win over Louisville in the NCAA tournament's Round of 32. Wilson was sensational in the Big Ten Tournament, averaging better than 15 points in those four wins, including a 26-point effort in the overtime win over Purdue. He averaged 16 points a game in the team's three NCAA tournament contests, scoring 19 against Oklahoma State and 17 against Louisville.

On the 2016-17 season, Wagner averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game, while Wilson averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.

"This was not an easy decision," Wilson said in his Wednesday announcement, "however, I have thought long about the next step in my career over the last few months. After many prayers and discussions with my mom, coach (John) Beilein and the staff, it is the right time for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.

"I am confident I have the drive, work ethic and maturity for this next step. It's never going to be easy, but if I have learned anything at Michigan, perseverance pays off. It has truly been a blessing to have had the opportunity to attend Michigan, and I will forever be grateful to coach Beilein and his staff for taking the chance on me. There are so many memories over the past three years that I will always cherish. I will be a Wolverine at heart forever."

"The mission is to lead this team and to win," Wagner told the Michigan athletics website. "I want to win the Big Ten again. Winning the Big Ten Tournament whetted my appetite. I wanted more. It's a little early to talk about a national championship, but we go into every game with the mentality of being able to win it. We have so many players who can step up this year, and I want to step up my game and be more consistent and lead by example the way Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin did for me.

"You've got to shoot for the moon if you want to be successful."

Wagner will return as a leader on this fall's Michigan team. Seniors Walton and Irvin departed after exhausting their NCAA eligibility, and Wilson is leaving, as well.