The retired boxing champion said he cried for Jerry Sandusky’s accusers after hearing of the former Penn State assistant football coach’s arrest on child sex abuse charges nearly a year ago.
An abuse survivor himself, Leonard said he hopes the accusers can draw from his own story and willingness to speak out about a problem that garnered national attention following the Sandusky scandal.
“What I had heard about Penn State — I cried for those victims,” Leonard told reporters after speaking at Penn State’s inaugural Child Sexual Abuse Conference. “Because I knew what they’d dealt with, what they lived with … It’s such an awful thing that eats away at you, that makes you feel that you’re to blame.”
Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison earlier this month after being convicted on dozens of criminal counts covering abuse allegations both on and off campus. Eight accusers testified at the June trial.
Leonard said he didn’t plan to reach out to the accusers. But asked what advice he would pass on, Leonard said it would be to “surrender. And surrender means, ‘Yes it did happen,’ but now deal with it. Speak up, speak out.
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