Jerry Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, enter a Pennsylvania courthouse Friday… (Robb Carr / Getty Images )
“There has been love in my heart,” Jerry Sandusky once wrote to one of his victims. “My wish is that you care and have love in your heart. Love never ends.”
That declaration was among the chilling comments contained in letters Sandusky wrote over time to boys he molested. The letters were released by prosecutors after jurors began deliberating on Thursday. During the trial they were were projected on a screen for jurors to read.
The jury convicted the former Penn State assistant football coach of 45 counts of sexual abuse crimes Friday night.
The letters, posted on the website of the Morning Call newspaper, often effect a warm tone, encouraging the recipients to excel in life. There is no overt mention of the sexual acts Sandusky forced upon the boys, some of whom met him through the Second Mile, the charity he established for disadvantaged children.
In one handwritten letter, the man prosecutors described as a predator talks about the movie “Forrest Gump” and equates himself with the innocent title character:
“Driving home the other night from Snow Shoe I had many thoughts. Some happy, some a little sad. As you know, I am very emotional and kind of let everything out. I'm not good at hiding my feelings. I have many Forrest Gump qualities and I thought a lot about that movie as I was driving home. As you would expect I cried at that movie.
“I remembered Forrest and how he was so naive (oblivious to the world) and not very smart. He was so happy because he wasn't caught up in being anything other than a caring person. I wish that I had more of that in me.”
Sandusky signed it “Forrest Jer.”
Another letter contains unintended irony:
“Yes, I am a ‘Great Pretender.’ I pretend that I can sing. I pretend about many things. However, I can't pretend about my feelings and want you to always remember that I care.
“Not always a pretender – Jer”
That was from a note to the young man identified by the court as Victim 4. Another note to the same recipient said:
“It's your life! You can continue as you have, keep looking for happiness or you can find it. We'd love to be a part of your life, but that's your choice.”
Victim 4, now a 28-year-old man, indeed made a choice. At the trial, he took the stand and testified against the man who also once wrote, “I know that I have made my share of mistakes. However, I hope that I will be able to say that I cared.”
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