Known as “Victim 1” in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the teenager who helped launch the investigation that led to the conviction of the former Penn State assistant football coach has written a book about his ordeal and is publicly identifying himself for the first time.
Aaron Fisher, now 18, says he was abused by Sandusky from the time he was 12 until he was 15. After three years of enduring abuse, he finally spoke out, finding the courage to tell his mother and high school officials, People magazine reports.
“Saying sexual abuse has happened was hard," Fisher told People. "But I wanted to help people see that it is better to come forward and tell somebody than to be silent."
With his mother, Dawn Daniels, and psychologist Mike Gillum, Fisher wrote “Silent No More: Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky.” The book will be published on Tuesday, Oct. 23, by Ballantine, a division of Random House.
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Fisher was a key witness in Sandusky’s trial. In June, Sandusky, 68, was convicted on 45 counts of sex abuse involving 10 boys in a case the rattled the nation and led to the fall of revered Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and other university officials.
Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison last month. He has appealed and maintains his innocence.
After Sandusky was sentenced, Fisher spoke to some of Sandusky’s other victims and their families, and told them he was no longer angry they didn’t come forward earlier, which could have spared Fisher and others from being molested, People reported.
“I said, 'I know what you guys went through,’” Fisher told the magazine. “I got some hugs and some handshakes and there were tears."
Fisher struggled to get officials at Central Mountain High School in Lock Haven, Penn., to take his complaints about Sandusky seriously. It was officials at his own high school that slowed the case down, Fisher told ABC's "20/20" in a segment airing Friday night.
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“Here I am, beside my mom, crying, telling them and they don't believe me," he said in the ABC interview. “I knew they wouldn't.”
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While his high school principal told his mother that Sandusky "wouldn’t do those type of things,” Daniels went to authorities.
Still, Fisher was made to tell his story to police four times over a three-year span and testify before two grand juries — but authorities said they needed clmore victims before they could charge Sandusky.
Those delays caused Fisher to become more despondent and led him to consider suicide, he said. "I thought maybe it would be easier to take myself out of the equation," he told “20/20”. "Let somebody else deal with it."
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Fisher met Sandusky when he was 11 and said he was chosen to go to a summer camp for disadvantaged kids that was run by Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile. Sundusky took Fisher under his wing and invited the boy to his home. Eventually, Fisher told ABC’s Chris Cuomo, he was taken "to the basement and the fun and games turned to horror."
In addition, Fisher said, Sandusky would pull him out of classes and find other ways to track him down.
"He once followed my bus home from school,” Fisher told “20/20.” “He told me to get in the car. I took off running. He drove on the opposite side of the street, into oncoming traffic to catch up with me, and then I ran up an alley. He went to my house and parked out front," Fisher explained.
After the abuse began when Fisher was 12, he said he stayed silent because of shame, fear and confusion.
"There were so many emotions and thoughts running through my head,” he said. "Being a kid, you never know what to do, and you don't know who to tell because you don't know who you can trust."
Now, though, Fisher, is heading to college next year and planning on studying criminal justice. He tells People that revealing his name is the start of a new phase of his life. “I’m happy it’s over,” he told the magazine.
For other abuse victims, he told People, he has this advice: “Make sure you don't give up on doing the right thing, because for every time you stay quiet, there's the person who did something to you, doing it to somebody else. Instead of being a victim, you can be a hero.”
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