Washington Post blogger Melinda Henneberger asks the question: Does Dottie Sandusky deserve a jail cell of her own?
Her husband, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted this week of 45 counts of violating 10 kids over 15 years sometimes in their home and yet she was unaware of any of it, according to Dottie Sandusky’s testimony. She didn’t hear any screams from the basement.
Henneberger points out in her Washington Post blog that “teachers, therapists, even priests have a legal duty to report attacks on children, but it’s murkier for spouses, because the “spousal privilege’’ that prevents a wife from ever having to testify against her husband in effect puts the protection of a marriage above the safety of a child. And what kind of message does that send others in Dottie’s situation?…”
“In (Frederick County, Md. prosecutor Scott) Rolle 25 years as a prosecutor, he saw many a horrified, heartbroken wife call the cops on the predator she’d married.”
“But sometimes, he says, a child molester’s Mrs. protects him instead. With the stakes so high, “people sometimes convince themselves they didn’t see what they saw,’’ hear what they heard, or know what they know. Which certainly comes in handy on the witness stand: “If you can convince yourself it didn’t happen, then you can convincingly say you don’t know anything….”
“In some counties in the Washington area, a parent can go to jail for chronically failing to get her kid to school on time, but nowhere in America is a woman with “another big kid…to supervise” held responsible for willful ignorance.”
So what do you think? Did Dottie Sandusky truly not know what was going on? (Could they have had a normal marital life?) Do you think she just completely shut her eyes and blocked it out?
Should wives be held legally responsible for things that happen in their house? (What if a husband gives a minor alcohol in the house? Is the wife responsible if she’s home too?) Is she culpable in this case?