The boy known as Victim 1 in the Penn State sex abuse scandal blames Joe Paterno and the university administrators found to have concealed Jerry Sandusky's criminal behavior for the repeated molestation Victim 1 suffered at Sandusky's hands, according to the victim's attorney.
Michael Boni said his client and the boy's mother "felt absolute fury" when they reviewed the findings of the investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who said Paterno was among four high-ranking Penn State officials who "failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."
Victim 1, who recently graduated from high school, triggered the investigation that resulted in Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years. Six of those counts were related to Victim 1.
"My client and his mother were so angry at the revelation that Joe Paterno knew about the initial 1998 investigation into Sandusky that went nowhere," Boni told ESPNNewYork.com in a phone interview Thursday night.
"They see the cover-up and Paterno's knowledge of the allegations back to the late 1990s as the things that caused my client's molestation in 2007 and 2008. But for that cover-up, he would not have been molested by Jerry Sandusky."
Through tears, Victim 1 delivered powerful testimony at Sandusky's trial, telling how Paterno's former defensive coordinator befriended him, assumed the role of a father figure (Victim 1 was raised by his mother) and ultimately assaulted him and forced him to engage in oral sex.
"Joe Paterno was in a position where he could have and should have made sure that Sandusky was reported to authorities," Boni said. "You have what Mike McQueary saw in the shower ... and that should've been sufficient to ensure that Sandusky was turned in, and Joe didn't do that.
"So my client and his mother had a very visceral response to this, and it was manifested in text messages I exchanged with Victim 1's mother. She is just filled with hatred toward Joe Paterno. She just hates him, and reviles him, and pins total blame on him for what happened to her son."
Boni said he has plans to file a civil lawsuit on his client's behalf. Victim 1 has a job and is considering attending college, the attorney said.
"The sun is coming up now that the people who deserve blame are being brought to justice," Boni said. "My client is doing as well as can be expected given the trauma. He's never going to be the same person he was because he's facing a lifetime of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Right now, he just feels a sense of ire and frustration that Joe Paterno and these bumbling administrators thought more to protect the football program and their old pal Jerry Sandusky than to consider for one split second his actual and potential victims. I don't think the English language has a word for the level of frustration Victim 1 feels over being molested after they made the decision to cover-up what Sandusky had done."