Sioux Falls, SD
The warning signs were there, but nobody ever thought a beloved football coach and trusted youth mentor was a serial child molester. One of Jerry Sandusky's victims told a Sioux Falls audience that it was almost a losing battle to get anyone to believe him.
Retired Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Sandusky is now behind bars.
On Thursday, Aaron Fisher told people at the U.S. Attorney's Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Conference why his name may sound familiar.
"I was known as victim one," Fisher said.
The 20-year-old was not Sandusky's first victim, but he is known as the first teenager to report his abuse. The report led to Sandusky's investigation and conviction. Fisher has told his story over and over, but it is still hard to talk about -- even with his biggest support system.
"I know that my mom knows because she read the transcripts. I know she knows. Everybody else knows she knows. I have yet to actually come out and tell her exactly what happened in the basement of that house," Fisher said.
Fisher spent many nights at Sandusky's house, and the man brought him to football camps. Sandusky would even pull Fisher out of class to spend time with him. As Fisher's behavior changed, his mom soon figured out Sandusky was molesting her son over a period of more than three years.
"Aaron started pulling away from Jerry, like, not wanting to hang out with him anymore. And he'd say, 'Lie to him and tell him I'm not here,'" Dawn Daniels said.
Both Fisher and Daniels said it was a challenge to get anyone to believe them because of Sandusky's perceived sterling reputation. The Pennsylvania Attorney General wanted to wait until more victims came forward before he did anything. Fisher's teachers and principal also tried to ignore what was happening.
"The principal says, 'Well, you know Jerry. He pulls all kinds of kids out classes. This is normal.' I said, 'No. That's not normal," Daniels said.
Fisher testified against Sandusky while the man was just feet away in a courtroom.
"You get that feeling that somebody's staring at you, and it's piercing your body. It's just going straight through you, and so, curiosity killed the cat. I looked, and Sandusky's there, smiling at me," Fisher said.
While Fisher does not like being known as victim number one, he hopes his story will encourage others to come forward. Ultimately, he hopes there is not one more victim of sexual abuse.
"The monsters that are doing this get away with it because kids are too afraid to tell," Fisher said.