Fifty people of all ages gathered Saturday to support Penn State’s alleged child sex abuse victims, unaware that “Victim 1,” as the high school boy was identified in a grand jury presentment, was inside a parked car a short distance away watching them.
The mother of the high school boy who said he was abused by Jerry Sandusky, told ABC News that she and her son watched the vigil Saturday night in Lock Haven, Pa., after hearing about it online and that it “meant a lot to him and his family.”
Victim 1, who according to his testimony, was 11 or 12 years old when he was first sexually abused by the 67-year-old former defensive assistant coach, endured such intense bullying following Sandusky’s arrest that he had to withdraw from his school.
The boy’s mother, who spoke exclusively to “Good Morning America,” said students at her son’s high school blamed him for triggering the sex abuse scandal that led to the firing of Joe Paterno, the beloved head coach who oversaw the university’s Nittany Lions football team for 46 years.
Paterno’s attorney, J. Sedgwick Sollers, told ABC News the former coach was saddened to hear about the bullying.
”Coach Paterno strongly condemns harassment or bullying of any kind, and he asks anyone who truly cares about Penn State to conduct themselves honorably and with respect for others,” Sollers said.
According to the grand jury report, Victim 1 suffered sexual abuse while he would stay overnight at Sandusky’s home in a bedroom in the coach’s finished basement and at least once other time in his school gymnasium, where Sandusky would volunteer. The boy originally met Sandusky through The Second Mile program for at-risk youth, which was founded by the coach.
The boy’s mother first alerted authorities of her suspicions in 2009, kicking off a two-year investigation that culminated in the arrest of the former coach on 40 counts of child sexual assault.