Saturday, June 23, 2012

Transcript: Sandusky Victim Travis Weaver Speaks


Announcer: Good evening and welcome. And tonight in the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the jury has the case. While they have broken for the night, the wait is now officially underway for a verdict. Most of us by now know the allegations that Sandusky abused these kids he was supposed to be helping. Many people heard him discuss the charges in his interview with Bob Costas here on raucous center, but we have not until tonight heard from one of his accusers. 

You're about to meet Travis Weaver. He has told his story to a grand jury though he did not testify in the current trial, and fair warning, as with anything to do with this story, some of these details are highly disturbing. Here now, Kate Snow's conversation with the young man who is as of this moment speaking out.

Snow: If Jerry Sandusky were sitting right here..

Travis: I'd punch him in his mouth. <faint derisive laugh>

Snow: Would you say anything First ?

Travis: No,  there'd be no reason to say anything. He knows what he did. I know what he did.

Announcer: Travis Weaver says Jerry Sandusky, sexually abused him more than 100 times over a period of four years starting in 1992 when he was just 10 years old. He says he thought he was the only boy it happened to until he saw Sandusky on the news - arrested on charges he molested other boys. Weaver, now 30, had never told a soul, but last fall he told his family his story for the first time. He says he still feels numb. 

Snow: You don't cry about it now?

Travis: No

Snow: When was the last time you cried about it? 

Travis: A long time ago. 

Announcer: Weaver's story echoes many of Sandusky's accusers. Mom and dad split up when he was little. There was a lot of fighting in the broken home he shared with two brothers. A counselor referred 10 year old Travis Weaver to a special summer camp run by a charity called the Second Mile.

Snow: What was it like the very first time you met Jerry Sandusky?

Travis: um, It was great. It was like meeting my hero.

Announcer. Almost immediately he says Jerry Sandusky took an interest in him, taking him to football games, inviting him to work out with him at the gym on Penn State's campus. And like many of the young men who testified in court, Weaver says from the beginning Sandusky expected them to shower together.

Travis: Picking me up, trying to give me, like, bear hugs.  umm.. He'd wash my hair, my back sometimes.

Announcer: He says they'd move to a couch in the locker room just beyond the showers.

Travis: …dried me off with a towel, said he was trying to wrestle with me and then he would just have me lay on top of him while we were both still naked.

Snow: I know this is really hard stuff to talk about. But what, what would he do when he had you down on top of him?

Travis: He'd rub my backside umm.. Sometimes he'd roll over on top me, blow on my stomach and umm..  rub my genitals and  umm.. Then it progressed into oral sex.

Snow: Did it ever escalate to anything else?

Travis: He tried anal sex one time but it hurt really bad, so I, eee, I made him stop. That was in the locker rooms.

Snow: In the shower?

Travis: Yes, <head nodding>

Snow: How old were you? 

Travis:Around 11 or 12.

Announcer: Weaver said Sandusky rarely spoke during the abuse other than to say "You're not gonna tell anyone about this."

Snow: Do you remember what was racing through your head?

Travis: <headshaking> I just couldn't believe what was happening. I was scared.

Announcer: At the same time, Weaver says Sandusky was inviting him to sleep over at his house. 

Travis: I stayed at his house, probably over 100 times.

Snow: A hundred times…

Travis: Yeah it was over a few years, but yeah I stayed there a lot.

Announcer: After Dottie Sandusky cooked dinner for them all, Weaver says he would go down to the basement and wait knowing that as soon as the rest of the family went to bed Sandusky would come down.

Travis: You know, he'd come down and talk to me, you know, try to play a video game with me a little bit, play pool or something, you know, he'd work his way up to it.

Snow: And you would know that he was going to expect sexual acts?

Travis: Yes. 

Announcer: Weaver says that when it was over Jerry Sandusky would leave him and go back upstairs to his wife.

Snow: Why do you think his family thought you were there?

Travis: I don't know. I never asked.

Snow: Did they treat you like one of the family?

Travis: The rest of the kids did, but Dottie, I don't think she really liked me too much. She was always like, distant. She didn't really want to talk to me too much. I always thought that she was a mean person just because of how she acted towards me. She, she never really wanted to talk to me. When she did talk to me, she was umm.. just real stern with, you know, with everything I said to her. 

Snow: Cold? 

Travis: Cold. Yes.

Snow: Did she ever walk in on you, see anything inappropriate?

Travis: No. No She didn't

Snow:  Do you think she had any idea what was going on, in your opinion?

Travis:  <Long silence> I can't say for sure but, I mean, how could you not know something was going on?

Announcer: He didn't always stay in the basement. Sometimes, Weaver says, he was in the second-floor guest room right across from the Sandusky's bedroom.

Snow: Did he ever engage in any sexual acts with you in the guest room across the hall from Dottie Sandusky?

Travis: A couple of times, couple times, you know, he performed oral sex on me. 

Snow:  ..And Mrs. Sandusky was across the hall

Travis: Yes 

Snow: When that happened?

Travis: yes

Snow:  It's almost an unbelievable story,

Travis:  yeah <nodding> ..'s why I was scared to say anything.

Snow: Because you thought no one would believe you?

Travis: yes

Snow: Is this a guy in your opinion, is this a guy who thought he would never get caught?

Travis: Yes. Yes, I don't think the thought ever even crossed his mind.

Announcer: Jerry Sandusky gave him gifts took him to fancy dinners even brought him to a 1995 Rose bowl game. Things his own family could never have provided .

Travis: He told me he loved me. He told my father he wanted to adopt me.

Snow: So Jerry Sandusky said to your father I would like to adopt your son?

Travis: Yes

Announcer: Weaver's dad who works at Penn State University's TV station confirms his son had years of contact with Sandusky and that there was talk of adoption. Finally at age 14 Travis Weaver says he reached a breaking point. Sandusky took him to Philadelphia for a Second Mile fundraiser he says and started wrestling with him in the hotel room.

Travis. I told him if he didn't get off me I was going to call the police on him and ah..he just laughed at me and, and forced me on, to stay on the bed and ah.. Told me if I ever said anything that nobody was gonna believe me and he would get my dad fired from Penn State. 

Announcer: So he says he did not call the police, but a couple of weeks later he did move to Cleveland to live with his mother.

Snow: You wanted to get away from Jerry Sandusky?

Travis: Yes.

Announcer: Weaver's life took a downward spiral. He spent time in jail for burglary. 16 years later Weaver is now working as a roofer in Cleveland. He and his girlfriend Alicia have two daughters together, ages two and four. He says he's angry at the adults who could've stopped Sandusky -like former Penn State assistant coach, Mike McQueary. He testified he saw Jerry Sandusky with a young boy pinned against the wall of the locker room shower. McQueary says he reported the incident to the university authorities but never called the local police

Travis: He's a coward. For not calling the police, for not stopping Jerry right there. He said he slammed his locker, walked out. Why would you slam your locker, walk out and leave that kid standing there? And let that keep happening? You know, you just abandon that little helpless kid.

Announcer: He also blames himself. 

Travis: if I would've said something it would've stopped him from hurting other kids.

Snow:  That's a big burden to carry.

Travis: I know it's not my fault but I can't help but feel that way. <hanging head>

Announcer: Weaver is now suing Sandusky, Second Mile and Penn State University. His lawyer is Jeff Anderson, who specializes in representing sexual abuse victims, including many cases involving the Catholic Church.

Snow: One of the things Jerry Sandusky's attorney has said again and again is that he believes people came forward later in order to cash in.

Travis: <Laughs, pauses, looks down to his right, purses lips> That's ridiculous. Why would, why would all these kids that never even met each other all have the similar, if not the exact same story, about what he did and, and go on in court and go to trial and testify in front of all these people about all this stuff that happened, if it never happened? It's, it's absurd. 

Announcer: What his lawsuit's about, Weaver says, is finally finding his voice.

Snow: You're also speaking out, you've said to me, because you want other kids out there to know that it's okay to speak out. 

Travis: Yes, it is okay to speak out.

Snow: This stuff is really a uncomfortable to talk about.

Travis. It's extremely uncomfortable. Feels better though once you start talking about it to people, lettin' everybody know what happened.

Snow: People are going to feel for you deeply, when they hear your story. They're gonna want to know that you're okay now, that you're getting help. Can you, can you be okay?

Travis: yeah.. I'll be okay.. When he's in prison.


  1. Thanks Peter. Your analysis made the hours of transcription all worth it. I had a sense he was telling the truth even before writing down his words. He was so direct and intense. All of the body language he did use was completely in context with his words.

    I was struck by how he called McQueary a coward for not calling the police. This is how he sees himself, because he did not act to save the 'helpless little boy' by calling the police - himself. He admits this to us when he tells us he threatened Sandusky that he would call the police, then admits that even then he failed to escape the power of his abuser's control. He was still the naked "we." At 14, trapped in a hotel room in Philadelphia, he was abused once again, by threats and coercion, and still did not call the police to save himself.

    I think for many abused, this is the ultimate cause for shame. They must admit to themselves that at some powerful level they were cooperating with their abusers. Their souls were bought with gifts and threats, and they sold them. Yet now he lets us bear witness to his attempt to buy his own soul back. By finally, dropping the shell of "coward" and "helpless little boy" and speaking out, politely asking us to believe him.

    Our job, our victory as a society yesterday, was we publicly declared in a loud voice - "You were a victim, he was an evil man, you (and all his other victims) are not to blame for complying with his will, you were a child. Forgive yourself and we will punish him for what he did to you." Many abused adults and children will hear this message and gain strength in their healing.