Known as “Victim No. 1,” 18-year-old Aaron Fisher was a key witness in the case against Penn State child rapist Jerry Sandusky. For the first time Fisher has made his name public, and he’s coming out with a tell-all book, Silent No More: Victim 1′s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky, available October 23. It’s co-written by his mom and his psychologist. Here’s what you should know about Fisher and his fight against sicko Sandusky.
1. He Took Down Sandusky … & Paterno
Fisher’s allegations against Jerry Sandusky kicked off the investigation into Sandusky’s boy-raping reign of terror. He was the first to accuse him, and his testimony was key. Without Victim No. 1, Sandusky might still be raping boys at will. And without Victim No. 1, there would have been no subsequent investigation into the coverup of Sandusky’s evil, which led to the destruction of Joe Paterno’s legacy and the stripping of hundreds of football wins.
2. This Is the First Time He’s Been Named Publicly
Until yesterday’s People magazine article (previewing a larger article in the print edition) and today’s appearance on ABC (previewing tonight’s full interview on 20/20), Fisher remained unnamed as “Victim No. 1″ in the case against sicko child rapist Jerry Sandusky, the once-respected defensive coach under once-revered Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.
3. He Had to Fight a Juggernaut
Fisher took on not only Sandusky, but the entire Penn State Football establishment — an entrenched, interconnected and dominant machine loyal to Paterno and his people. It takes enough courage for any victim of sexual abuse to come forward, but Fisher faced extreme circumstances and powerful resistance.
4. He’s Coming Forward to Give Courage to Other Victims
Fisher tells People:
Saying sexual abuse has happened was hard. But I wanted to help people see that it is better to come forward and tell somebody than to be silent.
And he tells ABC he doesn’t want to be a a victim:
A victim means people feel sympathy for you. I don’t want that. I would rather be someone that did something good.
5. He Met Sandusky at Age 11
Fisher attended a summer camp through Sandusky’s “charity,” the Second Mile. The sicko took a liking to him and developed a relationship.
6. He Was Abused in Sandusky’s Basement
During “sleepovers” at the Sandusky house, Jerry victimized Fisher in the home’s basement. The abuse lasted from age 12 to 15. It escalated from backrubs to fondling to oral sex.
7. Sandusky Chased Him with a Car
Sandusky’s pursuit of his victim was aggressive and persistent. He pulled Fisher out of classes at school, and the boy would hide in the school bathroom to avoid him. He even chased Fisher with a car, the teen told ABC:
He once followed my bus home from school. He told me to get in the car. I took off running. He drove on the opposite of the street, onto oncoming traffic to catch up with me, and then I ran up an alley, he went to my house and parked out front. Yeah, it was that bad.
8. It Took Years for Him to Tell Anyone
Fisher suffered the abuse for years without telling anyone until 2008, when he was 15. Why? “Embarassment,” he tells ABC. “Fear of not being believed.”
9. When He Finally Came Forward, He Was Told to “Think About It”
When Fisher finally got the courage to the report the abuse to his school principal, the school told his him and his mom, Dawn Daniels, to “Go home and think about it,” she tells ABC. “Go home and think about what? What is there to think about? We need to call the police right now. Jerry was in the school.”
10. He Contemplated Suicide
Though he reported Sandusky’s abuse in 2008, Sandusky wasn’t charged until last November. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office told him they needed more victims before they could charge Sandusky. The delay made him desperate. He tells ABC:
I thought maybe it would be easier to take myself out of the equation. Let somebody else deal with it.