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Sandusky 'was found guilty before trial,' says ex-Penn State coach's wife

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 4:32 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Victim's lawyer says Dottie Sandusky "remains remarkably unremorseful"
  • "I think Jerry was found guilty before trial," Dottie Sandusky says of her husband
  • Sandusky's wife says she stands by him "because he is innocent"
  • Former Penn State coach was convicted in 2012 of 45 sex abuse counts

(CNN) -- Jerry Sandusky's wife still stands by him, insisting the former Penn State assistant football coach is innocent of sexually abusing young boys.

Dottie Sandusky, in an interview with CNN's Jason Carroll, blames the news media for the conviction that sent her husband, now 70, to prison on a 30- to 60-year sentence.

"I think Jerry was found guilty before trial," she said.

Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted in 2012 on 45 counts, has always maintained his innocence.

Why does his wife still believe him after hearing trial testimony from a parade of men who said Sandusky abused them when they were boys?

"Because he is innocent," she told CNN.

Dottie Sandusky accused some of those who claimed to be victims of seeking money.

The university announced last year that it reached a deal to pay nearly $60 million in civil settlements to 26 different men who said they were abused.

"It makes me angry that people are not telling the truth," she said. "That's what makes me angry, and that an innocent man is in prison."

Dottie Sandusky's latest comments immediately drew responses from lawyers for two victims.

"Mrs. Sandusky is our best recent example of our deep denial of the reality of child sex abuse," attorney Marci Hamilton said. "He was convicted by a jury of his peers based on the testimony of numerous victims. Never underestimate the ability of a pedophile to charm and deceive the adults around him or her."

"Dott(ie) Sandusky, like her husband, remains remarkably unremorseful towards Jerry Sandusky's victims," attorney Tom Kline said. "One significant and noticeable difference is her dramatic shift from her cold and detached demeanor as a witness for her husband at his criminal trial to an emotional and distraught spouse, which appears to my eye to be an attempt to convey a sympathetic image for herself and husband -- a child molester convicted by overwhelming evidence."

The couple's adopted son, Matt Sandusky, originally denied to a grand jury being abused, but during trial jury deliberations, he told his attorney that he, too, was a victim.

In the police interview, Matt Sandusky said that he was molested between the ages of 8 and 15, that he tried to escape from the home and once attempted suicide.

Dottie Sandusky said in her CNN interview that she didn't know why Matt changed his story. "I don't know," she said. "All the other kids do not believe him. You know, he always liked a better deal. He always liked to be, you know, better and he did have some financial problems."

While calling her adopted son "very likeable, very believable," she questioned his honesty. "We've had many things that have gone on with Matt. He has stolen from our family. He's stolen from our kids. He stole from my mother-in-law."

She previously disputed his credibility, referring to Matt's "many run-ins with the law" in a letter to the judge who was about to sentence her husband in October 2012.

"Matt is extremely disappointed that Dottie and the Sanduskys have decided to smear his character in an attempt to deflect attention from Jerry Sandusky's heinous crimes," his lawyers, Justine Andronici and Andrew Shubin, said in a written statement to CNN at the time. "Matt has shown tremendous courage and strength. Rather than supporting her son when he made the gut-wrenching decision to come forward and tell the truth about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky has chosen to continue Jerry's strategy of blaming and attacking the victims, thereby perpetuating the abuse."

Her prison visits with her husband are sad, Dottie Sandusky said.

"It's hard to talk about family things," she told CNN. "We talk about the case. We talk about our friends. We talk about what he's doing in prison or what has happened, you know. And I try to cheer him up, but usually he cheers me up instead of me cheering him up."

A jury found evidence that Jerry Sandusky abused 10 boys, most of whom he met through his children's charity, The Second Mile. Many of them were abused on Penn State's campus, where Sandusky had access after he retired.

Sandusky's wife testified at his trial that she never heard or saw anything strange or sexual going on in the basement of their home, where many of the victims say her husband molested them.

In her letter to the judge, Dottie Sandusky said she had lost faith in the police and the legal system: "To think that they can lie and get by with the lies. The press has been unbelievable. People who have not met us are writing untruths."

Penn State's record number of sex offense reports spurs federal inquiry

Victim 9 sues Penn State

CNN's Ross Levitt contributed to this report.

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

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