By Glenn Blain and Larry Mcshane (NY Daily News)
May 13, 2016
There's a new voice demanding change to benefit New York’s child sex abuse victims: Matt Sandusky, adopted and abused son of the infamous Penn State pedophile.
The Daily News campaign to eliminate or revise the current cutoff law forcing victims to bring civil or criminal charges by their 23rd birthday needs support from local politicians, Sandusky said Thursday.
“It’s a major effort, and we support that,” the founder and executive director of the Peaceful Hearts Foundation told The News. “The current laws in New York are particularly heinous.
“Victims only have until age 23 to go public — that’s just not realistic. There’s no bigger need for change than in New York, with those type of laws.”
Sandusky, who was abused for years by Penn State pariah and assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, said most child abuse victims don’t come to grips with what happened for years — if not decades.
“On the male side of things, it’s 20 years or more, if ever,” Sandusky said.
Sandusky plans to attend a May 25 protest in Manhattan in support of two women who say they were sexually abused as teens by one-time rabbinical student Marc Gafni.
“It’s obviously something I feel strongly, passionately about, to be there in person,” Matt Sandusky said. “I love the opportunity to be there and help out.”
Gafni, who was never charged with a crime, says his sexual encounters with the young women were consensual.
Sandusky said holding predators publicly liable accomplishes two things: Preventing the criminals from targeting other kids, and encouraging other victims to come forward with their stories.
“That’s the whole point of statute of limitations reform, being able to name these people and stop the abuse,” Sandusky said.
The words of abuse survivors have fallen on deaf ears in Albany, where the Child Victims Act has waited for passage since 2006.
“We’ll discuss it with our members,” said Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-L.I.) and Gov. Cuomo offered no response to the campaign urging statute of limitations reform.
The Daily News on Tuesday plastered the office numbers and photos of Heastie, Flanagan and Cuomo on the front page, urging New Yorkers to call them and demand reform. The current legislative session runs through June 16.
Sandusky, whose foundation provides support for child victims, said he’s working to change the statute of limitations law in Pennsylvania as well.
After the Penn State football sex scandal broke, Sandusky initially defended his adoptive dad as the vile accusations piled up.
It wasn’t until Matt heard one of Jerry Sandusky’s victims testifying at trial that he found a voice to speak about his own abuse. He was 33 at the time; today, he’s 37.
“I always thought I was the only one, until I heard others speaking their truth,” he told The News. “It absolutely happens like that all the time.”
Jerry Sandusky, now 71, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison after his October 2012 conviction for sexually abusing 10 boys across 15 years. Penn State paid out a reported $92 million in settlements to his victims.