Mark Pendergrast

The Most Hated Man in America:
Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment

Everyone knows the story of Jerry Sandusky, the serial pedophile, the Monster.


But what if that story is wrong?


What if the former Penn State football coach and founder of the Second Mile is an innocent man convicted in the midst of a moral panic fed by the sensationalistic media, police trawling, and memory-warping psychotherapy?


Mark Pendergrast’s The Most Hated Man in America reads like a true crime psychological thriller and is required reading for everyone from criminologists to sports fans.


Praise for The Most Hated Man in America:


 “If potential readers are convinced that Jerry Sandusky is guilty, they need to read The Most Hated Man in America. This meticulously researched, provocative, and wonderfully written book by Mark Pendergrast, an enormously important contributor to the repressed memory debate, will certainly make them see another side. Maybe they will think twice.”

-- Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, author, The Myth of Repressed Memory and other books.


 “The Most Hated Man in America tells a truly remarkable story. In all the media coverage the Sandusky case has received, it’s amazing that no one else has noticed or written about so many of these things -- the constantly changing accounts of the alleged victims; the implausibility and lack of (non-testimonial) corroborating evidence for these accounts; the distortion of the shower incident; the contradictions between many of the alleged victims’ accounts over time; the guilt-presumptive police interviewing that involved not only improper, leading and suggestive questioning but interrogation techniques (evidence ploys) and improper practices (coaching, contamination); all the memories that were retrieved through therapy and litigation; and the financial incentives. One would think that the sheer insanity of so much of this will have to eventually come out.”

--Richard A. Leo, Ph.D., J.D., Hamill Family Professor of Law and Psychology, University of San Francisco, author, Police Interrogation and American Justice and The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four


“Virtually everybody knows with certainty that Jerry Sandusky is a serial child molester. He was, after all, found guilty by a jury of his peers.  Any questioning of this conclusion might be condemned as an insensitive disservice to those whom he purportedly victimized; and any such questioning runs the risk of inviting public outrage. Mark Pendergrast has shown courage in raising such questions. What if what we think we know about Sandusky is at least in some ways incorrect?  Would it not be important for all of us, including those who have been the victims of child sexual abuse, to try to get at the entire truth as best we can?  Regardless of their ultimate conclusions, readers will find The Most Hated Man in America to be thoughtful and provocative, addressing questions, that, even if uncomfortable, deserve to be asked in a just society.”

--Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D. Director, The Johns Hopkins Sexual Behavior Consultation Unit, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Berlin has written extensively on sex offenders, including a chapter in Sex Offenders: Identification, Risk Assessment, Treatment and Legal Issues


The Most Hated Man in America raises important questions about the Jerry Sandusky case. I am a Penn State professor of finance, so I lived through the shock, grief, and outrage that occurred on this campus, in this state, and in this country in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. For me, it was very personal. I was a Penn State linebacker, then assistant coach under Jerry Sandusky. He was a mentor and friend. When the horrific multiple charges against Jerry became public, much worse than I could have imagined, I backed away from him.  Everyone did. He was toxic. He had become a monster. I was completely confused. I felt betrayed. But now that I have read Pendergrast’s thoroughly researched, well-documented book, I believe that Jerry Sandusky is almost certainly an innocent man, the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.”

– Gary Gray, Visiting Professor of Finance,
Penn State Smeal College of Business


Mark Pendergrast


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