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Video: Attorney says sex abuse victim emotionally torn

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    CURRY: Ben Andreozzi is an attorney who represents one of the alleged victims and Jeff Dion is with the National Center for Victims of Crime . Good morning to both of you gentlemen.

    Mr. BEN ANDREOZZI (Attorney For Alleged Sandusky Victim): Good morning, Ann. Mr. JEFF DION (Deputy Executive Director, National Center For Victims of Crime): Good morning, Ann.

    CURRY: Ben , I know there's a limited amount of what you can actually say publicly about your client, but what can you tell us about him in terms of how old he is and what his story is?

    Mr. ANDREOZZI: Ann , I can't release personal information that would actually give the public an opportunity to identify who he is. But I can tell you the emotions and give you an idea of what he's going through right now. And I think it's important to understand that him, and I assume as well as many of the other victims , they've got a real complex emotional response to what's going on right now. It's important to understand that these folks were involved in the Penn State football community. They were on the sidelines of football games , they were spending significant amounts of time traveling with the team and/or in the locker room with the team and getting to know members of that football team . So it's -- to say that he's torn apart I think would be an emotion that would really explain where he's at right now.

    CURRY: So what are his emotions then watching these allegations devastating Penn State ? Are you suggesting that because he's tied into having watched and been connected to the football program through these experiences that he has a deeper level of emotions that may be hard for us to fathom?

    Mr. ANDREOZZI: Ann , that's exactly what I'm saying. I think it's -- the general public may think that an abused victim in his position would automatically have feelings of negative towards the university. And while I think he's very disappointed in the way that members of the university community handled his situation, or the situation involving the cover-up, it's not -- it's a complex issue and we need to understand he's got a variety of thoughts that are going through his head right now in light of the situation. He was interwoven into this Penn State football community.

    CURRY: Are you suggesting that he feels not only the pain of this, but also some guilt?

    Mr. ANDREOZZI: I think that's fair to say, Ann. If you look at sexual assault victims , it's very difficult for them to come forward and I think it's fair to say that the victims could be thinking to themselves right now as a result of myself coming forward, look at what's happened to this football program.

    CURRY: Is he at all comforted by the fact that the nation is so outraged that he and other boys were not protected, at least according to these allegations?

    Mr. ANDREOZZI: Ann , I think it's fair to say that sexual assault victims in general are comforted by the movement that we've seen. I can tell you right now, Ann , though, it's -- there are negative responses as well, so it's really -- it's a complicated issue. I know that he does appreciate the fact that the general public is concerned for him.

    CURRY: Jeff , does this case, as you look at it, fit the pattern of a predator, as been -- has been alleged in the case of Jerry Sandusky ?

    Mr. DION: Absolutely, Ann. Predators often seek out and sometimes create organizations that will give them access to children, particularly children that would be vulnerable to specialized attention from an adult that they look up to. And that's why organizations need to be absolutely vigilant about who's in their midst.

    CURRY: Do we have any sense that all of these boys, Ben , have had -- have access now to counseling or is that still -- and have they been able to get together and would that possibly help their healing?

    Mr. ANDREOZZI: You know, Ann , I don't think that I can speak for all the victims , but I can say that the people that have come forward to me, that we have been strongly recommending that they get in some trauma therapy and that's encouraged that they do that, you know, immediately. And fortunately there have been organizations throughout the country who have reached out and agreed to provide free counseling for these victims .

    CURRY: Well, that's indicative of how many Americans feel, Ben , that they want these kids to be OK. Andreozzi , Ben Andreozzi and Jeff Dion , thank you so much , both of you, for joining us this morning. And tonight on " Rock Center with Brian Williams " Bob Costas will take and in-depth look at the Penn State scandal. That's at 10, 9 Central here on NBC . It is now 7:13. Once again, here's Matt.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 11/14/2011 9:34:43 AM ET 2011-11-14T14:34:43

Even though support for victims of alleged child sexual abuse in the Penn State scandal has poured out, those victims may feel guilty seeing the school’s legendary football program torn apart as a result of the charges against the team’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, an attorney for one such victim said on TODAY Monday.

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Speaking with Ann Curry, attorney Ben Andreozzi said the eight victims currently involved in charges against Sandusky all became part of the Penn State football team’s inner circle and developed deep attachment to the program.

“I think it’s fair to say the victims could be thinking to themselves right now that as a result of (my) coming forward, look what’s happened to this football program,” Andreozzi said.

Story: Penn State assistant coach: 'I did the right thing'

“These folks were involved in the Penn State football community — they were on the sidelines at football games, they were spending significant amounts of time travelling with the team and/or in the locker room with the team and getting to know members of that football team.”

Andreozzi added that his client, who is now in his 20s, is grieving. “To say that he’s torn apart, I think would be an emotion that would really explain where he’s at right now.”

Video: Disturbing Sandusky interview surfaces (on this page)

Complex emotions
The eight victims all took part in the charity Second Mile, founded by Sandusky in 1977 to help troubled boys, but in the end, became part of an alleged cover-up at the school to hide Sandusky’s criminal behavior. Then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky sexually assault a boy in the football team’s shower stalls in 2002 and reported it to the school’s legendary football coach, Joe Paterno.

Image: Jerry Sandusky
Andy Colwell  /  The Patriot-News via AP file
Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged last weekend with molesting eight boys over a 15-year period

Paterno then reported the incident to the school’s athletic director, Tim Curley, but police were never notified in the case, prosecutors charge. Curley and former senior vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with lying to a grand jury investigating Sandusky, while Paterno and school president Graham Spanier were fired last week.

Story: Through charity, coach had access to vulnerable

Meanwhile, Sandusky is free on $100,000 bail while facing 40 criminal counts of child sexual abuse from 1994 to 2002.

Also speaking with Curry on TODAY Monday, Jeff Dion, deputy director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, said it’s not uncommon sexual predators become part of children advocacy organizations to be to freely interact with children.

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“Predators often seek out and sometimes create organizations that will give them access to children, particularly children that would be vulnerable to specialized attention from an adult that they look up to,” Dion said. “That’s why organizations need to be absolutely vigilant about who’s in their mix.”

Andreozzi added that while many organizations have stepped forward offering counseling to Sandusky’s alleged victims, those victims still face a painful process trying to sort through the emotions of being part of a criminal case against a university football program that in many ways was like a second family to them.

Video: Attorney says sex abuse victim emotionally torn (on this page)

“They’ve got a real complex emotional response to what’s going on right now,” Andreozzi said.

“The general public may think that an abuse victim would automatically have feelings of negative toward the university, and while I think he’s very disappointed in the way that members of the university community handled his situation involving a cover-up…he was interwoven into this Penn State football community.”

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