Matthew Sandusky to share sexual abuse story at UNK Criminal Justice Conference

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Matthew Sandusky endured years of sexual abuse by his adopted father, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Now, Matthew Sandusky is speaking out and sharing how others can take action to prevent child sexual abuse and support adult survivors of abuse.

Matthew-Sandusky-WebHe will share his story during the 26th annual Criminal Justice Conference and Career Fair at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Tuesday (March 17).

Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Matthew Sandusky came forward during Jerry Sandusky’s trial in 2012 after hearing testimonies from other victims. He is the founder of the Peaceful Hearts Foundation, which promotes stronger statute of limitation laws, education for children, stronger mandated reporter laws and other legislation. Peaceful Hearts also helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse find support.

Matthew Sandusky will speak at 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. His first talk will include his own story of overcoming sexual abuse. In his second presentation, he will discuss life after sexual abuse.

“His talk is so valuable for our students and the community. Male child sexual abuse is one of the most under reported crimes and this is a population that is typically underserved,” said Julie Campbell, associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice.

“His story is so fascinating because it was part of this big national scandal. But he’s going to talk about how hard it is to self-define as a victim and to make that decision to disclose that he was a victim. I’m hoping that it will make our audience more aware of how complex child sexual abuse is.”

Also speaking at the conference is Deb Minardi, Nebraska Deputy Probation Administrator. She is in charge of community-based programs and field services, which includes specialized programming for sex offenders, domestic violence, mental health and juvenile services.

“Our prisons in Nebraska are overcrowded, and incarcerating offenders is very expensive. We’ve been working hard to find alternatives to incarceration. This is Deb’s area of expertise,” Campbell said.

“She has a career in community-based corrections. She will talk about what this looks like in Nebraska and what our goals are. I think that’s really important for our students and the community to hear.”

Prior to her appointment in 2006, Minardi served as a probation officer, chief deputy probation officer and chief probation officer. She serves on the board of directors for the American Probation and Parole Association. In 2014, she was the American Probation and Parole Association member of the year.

“The vision of the Criminal Justice Conference is to showcase work that practitioners in the field are doing and bring in speakers with outstanding expertise in criminal justice,” Campbell said.

The conference is free and open to the public.

The conference also includes a career fair, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Criminal Justice Conference and Career Fair is sponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice and Alpha Phi Sigma. Funding is provided by the Faculty Senate Artists and Lecturers Committee, the University Programming and Faculty Fee and Department of Criminal Justice.

Criminal Justice Conference Schedule of Events:
7-8 a.m. – Registration
8-9 a.m. – Career Fair
9-9:15 a.m. – Conference Welcome
9:15-10:15 a.m. – Matthew Sandusky, “Matthew’s Story” – Sandusky will share his personal and powerful story of overcoming sexual abuse as a child. This program will empower the audience with knowledge about the grooming process as well as telltale signs of abuses and those being abused.
10:15-10:45 a.m. – Career Fair and break
10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Matthew Sandusky, “Hope and Healing” – Sandusky will talk about life after sexual abuse, sharing his journey of healing to encourage hope and empowerment for other sexual abuse survivors.
12-12:30 p.m. – Career Fair and break
12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch
1:30-2:45 p.m. – Deb Minardi, Nebraska Deputy Probation Administrator, “Opening and Raising the Criminal Justice Bars”
2:45-3 p.m. – Closing
Criminal Justice Career Fair Participants
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
Family Skill Building Service
FBI (North Platte office)
Hall County Sheriff’s Office
Hastings Police Department
Kearney Police Department
Lexington Police Department
NE Department of Correctional Services
Nebraska Games and Parks
Nebraska State Patrol
NE State Probation District 9
Norton Correctional Facilities
Omaha Police Department
Papillion Police Department
Rite of Passage
Sidney Police Department
Sioux Falls Police Department
University of Nebraska at Kearney Online Program
United States Marshals
United States Probation and Pretrial Services (District of Nebraska)
Wal-Mart Asset Protection
Wyoming Department of Corrections
Wyoming Highway Patrol


Source: Julie Campbell, 308.865.8566,
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,

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