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A 30-year-old Ohio man is the first accuser of former Penn State football Coach Jerry Sandusky to speak publicly about the sexual abuse he says he endured.
Travis Weaver, in an exclusive interview to be broadcast Thursday, June 21 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center, said Sandusky performed oral sex on him in the upstairs bedroom of the Sandusky home, right across the hall from Sandusky’s wife, Dottie.Weaver said Dottie Sandusky never witnessed firsthand any of the abuse but he suspects she had an idea of what was going on.
“How could you not know?” asked Weaver in the interview.
The trial has grabbed headlines for the past two weeks. Though graphic details from the testimonies of eight of his accusers have been reported, none of the alleged victims of Sandusky has spoken publicly until now.
Weaver has testified in front of a grand jury but was not called as a witness in the current trial. He said he is prepared to testify in the future if needed. He has spoken to both state and federal authorities.
Sandusky is facing 48 charges relating to child sex abuse. He has maintained his innocence. Attorneys gave their closing arguments June 21. At the time of this publishing, no verdict had yet been reached.
Weaver said he had never told anyone of the abuse and had buried the memories deep down. He says he thought he was the only victim until he saw reports that Sandusky had been arrested on charges of molesting other boys last fall.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe he just kept doing it to all these other kids,” Weaver said.
Weaver said he feels guilty about the young men who said they were abused after him.
“I wish I would have said something to him. I think if I had said something to him a lot of this stuff wouldn’t ‘a happened to all these other kids,” he said.
His attorney, Jeff Anderson, has represented dozens of victims of sexual abuse, many of whom were abused by Catholic priests.
“Speaking out is part of the process. Travis is helping other children by telling his story. He is helping to protect other kids,” said Anderson.
Weaver said he met Sandusky in 1992 at the Penn State outdoor swimming pool when he was ten years old. He was there with his younger brother as part of a Second Mile summer camp.
“It was like meeting my hero,” he said.
The sexual abuse began to occur gradually, he said, and started in the Penn State locker room.
“After the shower was over…he’d dry me off with a towel. He’d say he was trying to wrestle with me….and then it progressed into oral sex,” he said.
Weaver said Sandusky abused him more than 100 times in the Penn State locker room, at the Sandusky home, and even in a hotel in Pasadena, California where Weaver and the Sandusky family stayed while on a trip to the Rose Bowl.
“We went to a professional football game, and [Sandusky and I] left early and went back to the hotel. And he performed oral sex on me in the hotel,” Weaver said.
Dottie Sandusky testified in court that her husband is innocent. She said she never witnessed inappropriate contact between her husband and young boys.
Weaver said that when he was 14, he moved away from the State College area to get away from Sandusky.
Weaver has filed a civil suit against Sandusky, Penn State and the Second Mile, alleging that the institutions could have done more to stop the abuse.
Sandusky’s attorneys could not be reached for immediate comment on this story.
A spokesman for Penn State declined to comment on this story. In November 2011, the university’s Board of Trustees issued a statement saying it was outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury report, which included the testimonies of eight accusers, aged 18 to 28.
“We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky. We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action,” the Board of Trustees said.
The Second Mile charity declared bankruptcy after losing significant funding in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Second Mile Acting CEO David Woodle said his organization is continuing to cooperate fully with the Attorney General’s investigation and will adhere to its legal responsibilities throughout this process.
The charity released a statement in November stating that to its knowledge, all the alleged incidents occurred outside of its programs and events.
“Our highest priority always has been and will continue to be the safety and well-being of the children participating in our programs. We encourage program participants to report any allegations of abuse and/or inappropriate sexual activity wherever it has occurred, and we take any such reports directly to Child Protective Services. We have many policies and procedures designed to protect our participants, including employee and volunteer background checks, training and supervision of our activities,” the statement said.
Rock Center’s Nina Tyler contributed to this report.
Editor’s Note: Kate Snow’s full report airs Thursday, June 21 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams