Public Comment

New: Sandusky is Not Mentally Ill

By Jack Bragen
Saturday June 16, 2012 - 03:25:00 PM

It has become fashionable in recent times for criminals to claim that they have a disorder that made them do the crime for which they are charged. Doing this is a temptation for a person who has committed a crime and who hopes to avoid their due punishment. 

Jerry Sandusky is a retired university football coach accused of child molestation by at least eight victims. He is attempting to use the "disorder defense" to escape blame for his alleged crimes. 

I have seen no evidence that Mr. Sandusky has a mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia, or even some type of mood disorder. Most persons with a mental illness would not be able to function in a career of the caliber of Sandusky's. He has no history of being hospitalized for a mental breakdown of any kind. There is no evidence that there is a problem in his perception of reality. 

Mental illness, such as the type I have dealt with, is not synonymous with pedophile. You could claim that anyone who commits a crime is doing it because they are a sick person. However, this is not the same thing as someone who has a neurobiological brain disorder such as the schizophrenia that I am stuck with. 

From a biological or anthropological perspective, you can challenge whether or not human beings are responsible for their behavior at all. However, if you accept the notion that people are usually responsible for what they do, Sandusky appears responsible. 

We have people like Mel Gibson and others going to rehab in order to avoid culpability for racist remarks and continue working in Hollywood. And now Mr. Sandusky hopes to conveniently get out of blame for his actions because "it wasn't really him, it was his illness." Criminality is a distinct category from having a neurobiological-based psychiatric disorder. Sandusky, if guilty, should be punished.