The former Dorothy Gross, originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., met her husband-to-be in his hometown of Washington, Pa. They married in 1966.
Unable to have children of their own, the Sanduskys decided to adopt. Dottie ran the home and cared for the children while Jerry kept the grueling schedule of a big-time college coach.
"I'm strict, and I like for things to run a certain way," she testified Tuesday. "And we expect a lot of our kids."
Her husband wrote in his 2001 autobiography "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story" that "Dottie has always been there to look after (the children) when I was away, and usually from the minute I was back in town, I became another big kid for her to supervise as well."
Dottie Sandusky bailed her husband out of jail after his arrest, posting $50,000 cash and using their $200,000 home as collateral for the rest.
While she has denied any knowledge of abuse and says her husband never hurt a child, some spouses do harbor suspicions, said Finkel, the pediatrician. But they cast them aside because they are invested in the marriage and unwilling to believe their partner capable of so heinous an act. Or they fear public humiliation and the loss of financial security.
"Denial is a very powerful thing," said Finkel, co-director of the CARES Institute at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.
Lisa Friel, vice president of T&M Protection Resources LLC and former chief of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan district attorney's office, agreed with Finkel that spouses are most often in the dark about their offending spouses — but that sometimes they are enablers.
Friel said she has spoken with plenty of victims who don't understand how their mothers could not have known about abuse in their own homes.
"They certainly think that Mom, because of her own weaknesses, did not protect them," said Friel, who consults schools and businesses on sexual misconduct issues.
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