Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jerry Sandusky--A Closeted Gay?

"It takes one to know one," said Larry R., referring to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach who'll be spending the rest of his life in prison for years of sexually abusing young boys. "He was a hard-core closet case, one of those real tortured guys. I'm sure of it. I have a feel for that because that's what I was. I actually felt sorry for him at one time. That was before all the horror stories came out."

Now partially out of the closet, Larry, who's 36, lives not far from the Penn State campus and works in the university's administration department. In Los Angeles recently, where he's open about being gay, he was visiting friends. When you reveal you're from Penn State, the conversation invariably turns to  Sandusky. Larry, though, had an interesting perspective on him.
On being gay in the town of State College, Pa.:
"It's a small town with a Midwestern mentality. It's not the best place to be gay. Some people are open about being gay, but you're placed in this gay box. It's OK if you're gay but it's better if you're not. Some people treat you differently when they know you're gay. If you're looking to get ahead, it's easier if you're straight. My friends know I'm gay but the people at my office don't know it. I prefer it that way."

On Sandusky:
"A lot of my friends suspected he was in the closet. When you're gay you have a sense of who else is. There are a lot of people on the Penn State campus who are in the closet. Closet cases can spot each other. But it's your business if you want to be in the closet. You don't butt in other people's business. We knew he had a family. We were guessing his family didn't know. But, again, that's his business. I had many dealings with him over the years. He was always nice and friendly, a real likable guy. But he was also a tortured soul, aching inside. It's part of being in the closet."

On being a closeted gay and a pedophile:
"I know being a pedophile and liking young boys doesn't necessarily mean you're gay. You can be straight and prey on young boys. Since Sandusky is married with a family, he's probably bisexual. But he's also a closeted gay. With him, my gaydar was screaming.

On gays and the Penn State sports department:
"There are closet gays in the sports department. I know enough people in the gay community back there to know that's the truth. There's one I know for sure, a football player. I know his boyfriend. But he wants to keep it a secret. That's his business."
On the closeted gays' perspective:
"I know there's a notion that gays think everybody is in the closet, that everybody is secretly gay. Sometimes you're wrong about people you think are in the closet. Your gaydar could be off. But most of the time I'm right. Me and my friends weren't wrong about Sandusky."

On Sandusky's dark side:

"I remember having drinks with some guys a few years ago and we started talking about him. One of the guys has a gay father--a closeted gay--who died some years ago and never really came out. It was really sad. He said his father was a Scoutmaster, working with young boys. He said his father was never accused of anything but he always wondered if his father did anything bad and just was never caught.

"We started talking about Sandusky because we knew he had that foundation helping young boys. We were joking about him playing around with those kids like it was something that would never happen. Just because you're in the closet and you work with young boys you don't have to be a pedophile. We joked about Sandusky a few times. I know, really sick jokes. Who knew he was really a monster?"