- (Photo: REUTERS/ Jason Cohn)
Tyler Perry was touched by the Penn State molestation scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, and decided to write an open letter to the victim who came forth about being molested at the age of 11.
Perry, writer, actor, director and producer, opened up about being molested as a child. He called the victim courageous for doing the same.
“To think that you, when you were only 11 years old, spoke up – you are my hero,” Perry wrote in a letter that was published in Newsweek. “I’m so proud of you. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I want you to know you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Sandusky was charged earlier this month for sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period. A grand jury investigation suggested that he used his position as the founder of The Second Mile, a foster home designed to help troubled boys, to choose the victims.
Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, insists that the case against his client is hearsay. On Monday, Amendola also announced that they are conducting their own private investigation to prove he is innocent.
Nevertheless, Perry – known for his character “Madea” in his stage plays – called Sandusky a monster and assured the victim that he was not to blame for the situation that has led to the overhaul of the Penn State administration.
“Please know that you were chosen by a monster. You didn’t choose him,” Perry wrote. “You didn’t ask for it and, most of all, you didn’t deserve it. What a huge lesson that was for me to learn.”
In the letter, Perry also chastised the Penn State staff who did not speak up for Sandusky’s victims.
“Do you know that at the young age of 11 you had more courage than all the adults who let you down? All of the ones who didn’t go to the proper authorities, all of the ones who were worried about their careers, reputations, or livelihoods,” Perry wrote. “I wonder what they would have done if it were their own child.”
The actor opened up about his abuse last year while on the “Oprah” show. He told Oprah Winfrey that he felt like he died as a child after suffering physical abuse from his father and sexual abuse from several other adults.
He credited his mother and God for helping him survive.
Perry, in his open letter, encouraged the alleged victim to take a stand against Sandusky in the courtroom, regardless of how scary the experience would be.
“You may have to go through with that trial, and you may feel all alone when you’re on that witness stand, but just know that there are millions of young boys and grown men who are standing with you-including me,” Perry said. “If every man who has ever been molested would speak up, you would see that we’re all around you. You may not know all of our faces and names, but my prayer is that you feel our strength holding you up.”