HARRISBURG, PA.: For nearly a year, the young man whose claims of abuse triggered the molestation investigation into Jerry Sandusky was known publicly as “Victim 1.”
On Friday, Aaron Fisher put aside anonymity to speak by name about his ordeal, saying he had contemplated suicide because authorities took so long to prosecute the former Penn State assistant football coach.
“Victim means people feel sympathy for you, I don’t want that,” Fisher said in an interview on ABC’s 20/20. “I would rather be somebody that did something good.”
Fisher first reported the abuse in 2008, but he said the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office told him it needed more victims before Sandusky would be charged. Sandusky was not arrested until last November.
The delay, Fisher said, made him increasingly desperate.
“I thought maybe it would be easier to take myself out of the equation,” he told ABC. “Let somebody else deal with it.”
Fisher, now 18, testified as Victim 1 at Sandusky’s trial. He, his mother and his psychologist have co-written the forthcoming book Silent No More about his ordeal. Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing Fisher and nine other boys, and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Fisher told jurors that Sandusky approached him through a summer camp for youth sponsored by the Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth the former coach had founded.
Physical contact began with a hand on his leg in the car, Fisher said, and he began spending nights at the Sandusky home in State College when he was 11 years old. Kissing and back rubbing during those overnight visits progressed to oral sex. He said he tried to distance himself from Sandusky, to no avail.
Fisher was 15 when he and his mother eventually reported the abuse to the school principal, who responded that “Jerry has a heart of gold and that he wouldn’t do those type of things,” Fisher told ABC, repeating his trial testimony.
“They tell me to go home and think about it,” his mother, Dawn Daniels, told ABC.
School officials reported Sandusky to Clinton County Children and Youth Services, which began an investigation and brought in state police.
Sandusky defense lawyer Joe Amendola, at a legal seminar in Wilmington, Del., said Fisher and other victims were motivated by money, a claim he has repeatedly made.
On Thursday, Amendola filed a 31-page document in the case that is the first step in Sandusky’s effort to overturn his conviction.