Insight Is 20/20

Exploring the pervasive, and unperceived, patterns that govern our lives

The Wives of Pedophiles Always Know the Truth

The Jerry Sandusky trial has put pedophilia front and center in recent weeks, and I’ve heard more grotesque details about the abuse of multiple boys than I can stomach. Yes, it turns out Sandusky is guilty, so he’ll go to prison as he should for committing the crimes. But what about the adults around him who knew and covered it up or suspected but chose to ignore it? Read More

Exposing Pedophile Husbands May Turn Out Better Than Their Wives Think

I suspect that wives who put aside fear and speak up about what their husbands are doing will ultimately not be condemned, but rather treated like heroes for doing the right thing. I think they'll find support for themselves and protection for their children. Not sure if it's okay to post a link here so I'll say Google the "James Christmas Olathe Kansas" to find such a story.

Speaking from experience

My ex boyfriend is a pedophile and absolutely we know. I knew within the first six months something was seriously wrong. Without a doubt we rationalize, we pity them and we protect them because we are being persecuted for dating them. Although we are no longer together, thank goodness, I must say,wives and family members that know protect their men, by experience we endure so much pressure from the pedophile in particular and their families. It is pure manipulation and if you're strong you will walk out like I did. My partners mother knew the whole time because I told her and she wanted to me to keep it quiet. I had no real proof he was doing it again, but my goodness it was far from a normal even dysfunctional relationship. It is something I know I will never experience with anyone again. If there are words I can describe it...F**ED UP is what it was. The way they looked at young teenage girls, his eyes were locked, the way he spoke about sex/women.. the list goes on and any women that has been in one, knows the content of conversations were extremely abnormal particularly topics with sexual reference. WE DO KNOW THERE'S SOMETHING NOT RIGHT!

What Could Have Been

Sandusky's wife could have been a hero. She could have come forward about her husband's behavior long ago. Many years in the past, had she moved to stop his heinous acts she would have been hailed as a heroine for pushing aside the legacy of Penn State and doing what needed to be done.

Instead she has condemned herself to life as a pariah.

No one will ever again knowingly associate with Mrs. Sandusky. No one will willingly spend time with her, become her friend or trust her in any way. And rightfully so for she does not deserve the trust one affords a friend.

Its a pity for what might have been. A pity and a powerful lesson. I hope Mrs. Sandusky - and others the world over - have learned from this in some small way.

Its about the best we can hope for from such a horrible situation.

The Wives of Pedophiles

What a great point you make that Sandusky's wife could have been a hero. Of course, it would be incredibly painful and difficult, but coming forward would have been the right thing to do, and she could at least tell herself later that she did her part to try to protect future children from abuse.

She Knew!

OF COURSE she knew. I can only hope that her husband's legal fees are so great as to leave her penniless and suffering for the remainder of her years. I also think the victims, Sandusky's charity, and the university should file civil suits against the Sanduskys (he AND she.) Funds won from the civil suits could assist these specific victims, but also other victims of abuse.

Also, Paterno did himself a convenient favor by dying shortly after his firing from the university; charges against him were certainly warranted, in my opinion. I'm not versed in the law enough to know, but a civil suit for victim's restitution against Paterno's estate could be explored.

Where I normally dislike litigiousness, I think child/sexual abuse cases are different.

In such situations, I think a spouse's denial is not about oh-my-gosh-what-kind-of-person-did-I-marry-I-can't-believe-I'm-so-stupid. I think it's about self-interest - just not wanting to leave a marriage to start over, especially from a financial perspective. Pure self-interest with a big dose of weak.

Financial and social repercussions

I totally agree with "She Knew!". Mrs. Sandusky doesn't want her name and "reputation" tanished. It always comes down to the root of all evil: money. Mrs. Sandusky is too emotionally weak to take what is financially hers from the marriage and run. I pity and despise her at the same time. I cannot believe that she has so far escaped perjury charges. She blatantly lied on the stand!

Wives of pedophiles

I think this article is pretty illogical: "The wives of pedophiles knew what their husbands were doing because we all know our spouses really well." Huh?

I worked in a support program for newly divorced people for two years, and I can attest that not only do many people not know their spouses very well, many people don't even know themselves very well.

Perhaps those who know their spouses well assume that every other married person does so, too. But a lot of married people thought they knew their spouses well, until they found out they didn't know them well at all. And that may happen to you!

There was a time when I might have agreed with you. It comes down to what one means by trust. For example, although I knew it was possible that my husband might cheat on me, I chose (when I married him) to trust that he would not do so. I came to understand that for many other women, "trusting" their husbands meant they didn't even admit of the possibility that their husbands would cheat on them. These women were completely shattered when they found out their husbands were having affairs. Not only did it destroy their trust in their husbands, it destroyed their trust in everything else they believed in, and in their own ability to make good decisions. I believe something similar may be true of the spouses of pedophiles.

The wife of the pedophile, like the boys who were molested, is likely a victim of her husband's manipulation. As those who followed the Sandusky case have seen, Jerry Sandusky targeted the boys he thought to be most vulnerable for grooming. I suspect that he picked his spouse in a similar way.

Then, early in courtship or marriage, he probably spent time breaking down his wife's confidence in her own judgment, using any of a number of techniques such manipulators use:
Crazy-making (trying to make you wonder whether you are mentally ill);
Trivializing (ex: "I'd love to hear about your promotion, but can we eat first?");
Redefining reality (ex: "No, you're not angry, you're jealous.");
Scapegoating (shifting the blame or responsibility);
Discounting ("You're making a big deal out of nothing");
Twisting the facts (rewriting history to make them right and you wrong);
Diverting or changing the subject;
Restricting familial and social contact;
Belittling the victim's family or education or financial contribution.
These tactics are alternated with loving statements or behaviors to create an extremely confusing situation.

If a woman is in an abusive relationship, but others constantly tell her how wonderful her husband is and how lucky she is to be married to him, she begins to doubt her own perceptions of reality or blame herself for marital and family problems.

If a man puts down his spouse in private, while praising her in public, it creates a "crazy-making" situation where not only does she not know what to believe, but friends or relatives may not believe her when she recounts his private behavior. She may do a great deal of pondering, trying to come up with logical explanations for words and deeds so much at odds with one another.

If she has dedicated herself to making the marriage work, perhaps for religious reasons or for the sake of her children, she may tell herself to "look on the bright side" and set aside unpleasant incidents as simple faux pas or lapses in etiquette, to be forgiven and forgotten.

The woman's reaction to verbal and emotional abuse and manipulation will depend on her personality, upbringing, and personal values, as well as her perceived ability to support herself and her children outside of the marriage.

I don't know whether Dottie Sandusky knew about the abuse going on. I do believe that many women married to pedophiles have been completely taken by surprise when they found out what their spouses had been doing. The alternative would be that we would look at every man as a potential pedophile. Ick!


I read the above response and realized you are talking about my life. The one I recently found out about. My problem, by the time my x had our home served with a search warrant he had become good enough at hiding and skirting the line. The more research I did the more I realized he always had a double life. He always traveled, he called in, he wouldn't take responsibility for anything. He never touched anyone around us, he "GROOMED" somewhere else. Not really sure how big a monster he is. I do see that his family may be a familial group of pedo's. They act and do things that trigger a really sick feeling. Using money and propreity to hide behind.

Looking back at a 20 year relationship all of the above triggers are correct. He found me at my most vulnerable and attempted to keep me there. I tried to leave so many times before and after children and couldn't break free. Looking back, I don't know what was real.

He took everything in the divorce, because he was never charged or arrested it made it easy for him to keep up the pattern of abusive behavior using the court system as a tool. (His father is an attorney). (Imagine through this all he told everyone it was my fault)

My children are safe as they can make the choice. That was a no brainer.

Now in recovery I have no voice to say anything. Because, he wasn't charged! No matter what I think I know, I have no proof. If she couldn't verify it or witness it or if no one told her, she has no legal grounds to stand on. Money and social standing will always win over the wife. (I was the wife)

I would love for someone to put some laws out to protect the wives. But, most states tolerate pedophiles and the abuse of young girls. (I saw first hand that divorced Judges think of young girls as the perpetrators, not the grown Men)

The writer of this article must not understand abuse - I suggest you join a local support group and you will understand! You may have nightmares. But, your article will change.

I agree to your comment

I totally agree with you 100% because I walked in your shoes too especially the family. They never leave us alone because we are a part of their cover up. I am still recovering from the trauma my ex put me in. We have not been together for almost two years and I am psychologically damaged from the relationship. I wish you all the best..xo

Nonsense . It's completely anti-intellectual to blame her without any facts .

I don't believe that his wife must have known .
Sure , it's possible , maybe even more than likely but it's unfair to burden her with any level of culpability based on little more than an assumption . It's a leap in logic .

Who do you really think he did his absolute best to hide his perversions from ? He would have known perfectly well that the most likely person to figure it out first would be his wife so of course he would have put a fair bit of planning into keeping her , above all other people , in the dark .

I'm not saying she didn't know or even suspect . I'm simply pointing out that it's ridiculous to just jump to that conclusion . That's the old "Where there's smoke , there's fire." nonsense that convicts people in the court of public opinion long before any facts are disclosed .

It does seem obvious in hindsight

How could she not wonder why the boys who stayed over were mostly put down in the basement and her husband would go down and spend one-on-one time with each? It seems odd now for us to hear it as outsiders. But could she have told herself that he was being kind and giving these boys the attention they did not recieve from a male figure at home?

I don't know about Dottie Sandusky. Having never met her, I am reluctant to declare based on reading newspaper accounts that she MUST have known, or even that the wives of pedophiles ALWAYS know. Certainly, we hear of cases where they did and where they even abetted their spouse-pedophile -- Jacie Dugard's captor was helped by his wife in kidnapping the child.

Going forward, we can only hope that if there are women like Dottie Sandusky and they REALLY do not know, then this case will make them more suspicious.

The AUTHOR should be held

The AUTHOR should be held accountable for spewing such crap. How on earth can a "professional" mental health worker make these statements in a public forum without having any facts to back them up? Shame on the author and shame on the other commenters willing to crucify these women without having any data about them. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and have been through years of therapy to work through it. I know first hand the lengths my abuser went to to prevent his wife and any other adult from finding out what was happening, sometimes under their very noses. So please, all you people with torches and pitchforks aimed at the wives instead of the abusers, get a grip.

Agreed. This is crap.

Not only is it crap, it is unethical to make such blanket statements. Do you know how many people will believe what you say just because you have a Psy.D.? Anonymous is right. Pedophilic acts are done in secrecy. Marriages are based on trust. I know how these things are. My husband molested our granddaughter and I DID NOT KNOW. I DID NOT SUSPECT A THING. WHY SHOULD I?

I thought when he put her to bed at night, he was being a good grandfather and telling her stories. He was telling her stories, but his hands were busy, too. There was NO WAY for me to have known.

Shame on you DR. Meyers! Fork over your license. I'll burn it with my torch. Shame on you for manipulating people with mythology instead of educating them on how to cope with a difficult and painful situation by utilizing facts based on evidence. Don't know how to read research? Tsk, tsk, tsk!

I didn't know he was a

I didn't know he was a pedophile but his family did. He molested his children and grandchildren and then my grandchildren. He treated me very well. I knew he had some emotional problems such as delusions of persacution. He saw a psychiatrist at the VA. After I found out the truth about him I called the police. This has been reported to police child protective and put in the had of DA He has admitted it to all of us. Still nothing has been done since February of this year. If I had hushed this up like his family did I would not have been served with divorce papers and he would not be after my money. As it is now I feel like I am the victim along with my granddaughter and my son. Now I know why they said nothing about this. They were protecting themselves. But I spoke out and now I lose out. I wish I were a widow and the sooner the better. If he dies befor the divorce I will be better off. He is 85 and on hospice care. The DA does nothing because they don't want to have to care for him. Please let him go to meet his maker and soon.

He died

My girls were scheduled to go befor the grand jury twice but both times the DA put it off. The next time was to be in a few days and he died. Thank God the girls did not have to testify but then was there no justice. I went to the memorial service but they called the police to have me removed. I went because the disrespected me by not putting my name in the paper and they threatened me with legal action because I delayed the divorce. I wanted to show them I was holding my head up high. I was a perfect lady in every way. When his son first arrived from California he said his father should be in jail. After his father died he was yelling "You killed my father" . I think his son is really mad because I delayed the divorce and his son will get little or nothing form his fathers will. If I had divorced him I would have lost 12 thousand dollars a year. For someone on social security 12 thousand a year is a lot of money. So please don't tell me you would have divorced him. The lies they told about our finances were unbelievable. The wanted 169 thousand dollars from me in a divorce settlement. Anyone with a brain would have delayed the divorce. I paid with my tears anxiety and depression for every penny I get and my girls paid with their bodies and souls. RIP Reverend Jim.

Mr. Myers has not walked in our shoes.

My stepdaughter was molested by her father. She also knew of others in the family who were molested. Then why in gods name did she send her 3 small children to be with us every weekend for 5 years. My then husband took her son, his grandson into my basement and molested him for 7 years. He then molested my granddaughters. Other of his family members knew what he was. They didn't tell me. When I found out the truth I called the police. Now he has admitted the truth to me and the authorities but nothing has been done. He has filed for divorce and he wants money from me. The part that really kills me is he can get the money from me. It doesn't matter what he did he can get my money and the DA has done nothing. Oh they believe us. But his son called them and told the DA he was not going to get an Attorney as he was too sick. So what did the DA say. OK dear that is OK we will leave you alone. They didn't ask for proof of his condition. And this Mr. Myers says the wife knows. Bulls***

Wives of Pedaphiles

This is article is erroneously broad in its accusation that wives always know. They do not. I know, because I am one. The victims were children in my own family and not one of them told any of the available many trusted adults. My husband is a master manipulator and sneak and on his way to prison. After 42 years of marriage I learned the truth about him. Don't tell me the wives ALWAYS know. I did not.


This is an excellent article. But when the wife of a pedophile highlights the fact that she is aware her kids are being harmed, the question of whether she is telling the truth due to lack of evidence arises. The spouse drops allegations that she has a mental illness or an ulterior motive and due to 'lack of evidence' in legal terms she is now in danger and risk of harm for her children. Even when the children's psychologist states that there is high trauma avoidance and the psychiatrist states that there are negative moods despite that there is no assurance that the abusive parent will get only supervised contact.

Can someone please advise how such a situation can be handled? How does a mother protect her children and other kids when she knows there are pedophiles on the loose but she 'lacks evidence'


The best thing to do is trust

The best thing to do is trust your instincts. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I recommend contacting Child Protective Services in your area if your instincts tell you any child is in danger.

The best thing to do is trust

The best thing to do is trust your instincts. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I recommend contacting Child Protective Services in your area if your instincts tell you any child is in danger.

I am a mandated reporter...

I hold a teacher's license, so I do and have reported any and all child abuse I have suspected. Thanks though.

The best thing to do is trust

The best thing to do is trust your instincts. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I recommend contacting Child Protective Services in your area if your instincts tell you any child is in danger.

The best thing to do is trust

The best thing to do is trust your instincts. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I recommend contacting Child Protective Services in your area if your instincts tell you any child is in danger.

So what happens if child services tell you not to file?

I called child services after developing concerns over a close female friend's behavior. She was 39 and carrying on a relationship with an 18 year old tenant (who she subsequently married), who was just one year older than her eldest son (they were having difficulty so he was living full time on the other side of town at his dad's house). At one point she talked about how she loved his not yet fully developed body which struck me as not okay but I didn't know what to say because she was having a relationship with a teenage boy who is legally an adult. Then she told me she'd had sexual relations with him in front of her youngest son (once while they attended a show and once while he was asleep in her minivan). That was when I called child services. One person I talked to advised me to file and they would sort it out but a social worker I spoke with (who seemed more senior) advised me not to file because I had no proof (nothing in writing) and had not witnessed anything and it wasn't clear that what she did constituted child abuse or that she'd ever abused any of her children directly. I agonized over it for weeks, lost sleep, lost friends who were upset I'd dare to question her actions and believe the worst. Ultimately I didn't file because they were right, I had no proof. If she was right that her son had been unaware of what she was doing an investigation might just traumatize her kids. Someone suggested I take my concerns to her ex-husband but I wasn't convinced that he was stable and couldn't find any mutual friends to talk to about their thoughts on him so I didn't. I still wonder if I made a mistake by not reporting it.

Not really sure?

My family has a lot of women and maybe men who were sexually abused but nobody talks about it and if they do it's only about how sick the molester is and how he should go to hell. Or how the wife is a stupid bitch for letting that happen but nobody tells the cops. I was just wondering why they do that? Talking about how bad they are but letting the molestation continue?

welcome to hell

My father is a pedofile. My sister and I went to my mother and relatives numerous times as children and were 1) told by my father that if we ever spoke of it again, we would be killed and 2) ignored by relatives who just didn't want to get involved... My sister and I are in our fifties and have spent YEARS in therapy. To this day, the sick SOB will not admit it, and our mother "doesn't remember". Needless to say, our parents are dead to us, but years of abuse and countless beatings have taken their toll. There are flashbacks, nightmares, and insecurity. It changes who you become as a person. We HATE him and we hate our mother more because she stays with the depraved SOB and continues to pretend it never happened. What I have learned in therapy is that the topic makes people uncomfortable and they don't know what to say, so many times the victims are the ones that are ousted by the family. It is one of the most horrific things that can happen to a child and something that affects you for the rest of your life - it is a pain like no other...

My father and his brothers too!

My father who still lives a royal life catered to by my mother, is a brilliant pedophile. He had/still has brothers who were serial child sexual abusers, targeting the little girls within the family and friends circle, which included their own daughters and nieces. Most wives knew, but hated us girls when we tried to expose their husbads as young teenagers who finally understood about sex. This gave my father and uncles a chance to neatly label us as "mad/hysterical" and escape being hauled up for the crime they openly indulged in for decades with no stop. Only old age put a stop to their activities. However what they could not do with their fingers they continued to be lecherous using their vision!

My mother was among the women who stubbornly refused to believe such men or women could exist. She called me a disgusting and troubled child and firmly supported my father. It took her decades to understand that my father was sexually disgusting. Finally when she did, she did offer me an offhand apology with, "You had committed some sin in your previous birth for which you paid during this birth." The classic Hindu philosophy that allows such people who ruined a child's life to feel good about themselves. My mother also added recently that I would have wandered as a soul and chose them as my parents. Meaning the choice to suffer my father was MINE as a soul to be born into such a family. This exempts her from feeling that her choice to marry such a man and stay married to him at any cost was bad.

According to my mother she did nothing wrong. It was all my karma. And as my father's wife, she still feels it is her duty to look after him very well until his death. She firmly believes this is her duty. She feels if she does not look after him very well in his old age, she will be sinning.

Not once has my mother ever apologized for supporting a pedophile with such ardent loyalty and passion. Not once. Not even when I attempted suicide and lay almost dead in the hospital. Again she took shelter in the Hindu philosophy that our death is already written and nothing can stop it.

The irony is, for their old age they have no one but me to fall back on to look after them and I am doing this. I hate to talk to my father. I give him good food and ignore him completely. As for my mother, I try listening to her grand talks whenever she does talk to me (she is mostly glued to the T.V.), but I have discovered that I dislike her was much as I dislike my father. I have very low tolerance for her great philosophical talks. Today, I have decided not to talk or listen to her too.

According to my thinking both were partners in crime and enjoyed making my life miserable. The classic part about my parents is, both always acted like the victims - always (even when I questioned the sexual, verbal and physical abuse I faced in their parenting)! My father these days has stopped the victim drama and has fallen silent after one, brief apology. My mother says she has done nothing to apologize for (she believes it was just her innocence that she could not support me against such a vile man) and till date continues to act like a victim when around me.

She will act like she is super scared of me. ;) So together my parents did a great job at projecting me as the villain and made sure all friends and relatives hated me, my late ex-husband included. My father took great trouble to tell my late ex-husband that I was a liar and also insane. He taught my late ex-husband that women like me should be hit and not allowed to get financially independent ever. My late ex-husband decided I was a horror show for having called my father a pedophile and proceeded to make my life miserable until his death in spite of the divorce. My father found a very good ally in my late ex-husband and enjoyed harassing me via him. When my ex-husband died my father lost an excellent support system but he quickly moved towards my brother's wife to get the needed ally to continue to belittle me. And much as this sister-in-law hated my father, she hated me more and helped him royally in belittling me. My brother also died tragically and his widow found another man. This again left my father without the support system he needed to keep harassing me. And today he is even dependent for his basic on the very child he abused verbally, physically and sexually.

When a child as a young woman exposes a pedophile such adults never forgive that child. They make sure no one will like or believe this child, their wife included. My teenage was full of my father asking my mother to choose between him or me or he would commit suicide. This is a threat he used to get her to marry him when my mother's father smelt something ugly in my father and his family and begged with my mother not to marry my father. My father used this threat until he became too old. He is all of 80 and has survived beautifully in the Indian culture that cushions pedophiles.

Pedophiles mostly survive and are brilliant manipulators.

I feel a death sentence is not bad for them, for they literally kill a child whom they set out to abuse.

I have struggled to live all my life. I don't know a day when I have not felt this ache not to exist in such a world/family.

If I were in your shoes you

If I were in your shoes you I'd probably leave them both on the streets to face their karma. You're either a very generous soul or still subconsciously waiting for the love and apology that won't undo the damage.

If I were in your shoes you

If I were in your shoes you I'd probably leave them both on the streets to face their karma. You're either a very generous soul or still subconsciously waiting for the love and apology that won't undo the damage.

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Seth Meyers, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health.


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