Like clockwork, sightseers pull up to the cul-de-sac on Grandview Drive, point, take a quick look and turn around.
Some take pictures of the two houses at the end of the street, which stand in stark contrast — one the now-iconic brick-paneled house of Jerry Sandusky and one proudly displaying a Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network awareness sign.
Only a pile of leaves separates Jerry and Dottie Sandusky’s well-manicured lawn from that of neighbors Paul and Dana Kletchka.
After the charges were brought against the former Penn State assistant football coach, not only the lives of the Kletchkas, but the lives of the entire neighborhood were changed.
One of the worst side effects of the case for Dana has been health issues, she said. Insomnia and fear have plagued the young mother of two.
“I lost a lot of weight this summer because I couldn’t eat,” Dana said. “I couldn’t put food in my body.”
Dana said she recently was able to return to sleeping in her upstairs bedroom, as she slept downstairs on the couch frequently during the past year in order to better hear what was going on outside.
On top of the issues in her neighborhood, Dana said she was coping with the birth of her son — who was four months old at the time — and the death of a family member.
Many times, the Kletchkas said they feared for their safety.
The day before the Nov. 12, 2011 game against Nebraska, a vandal broke a window at the Sandusky house.
Paul said he went over to the Sandusky house after receiving a phone call from Dottie. He said he asked the Sanduskys if they had somewhere else to go, because he was unsure if they were safe.
“Jerry said, ‘I’m not going anywhere without [my dog] Bo. He is all I have left,’ ” Paul said. “He said that in front of his wife.”
Ironically, neighbor Susan Strauss said hers and the Kletchkas are the only two houses in the neighborhood with young kids. They both surround the Sandusky’s house.
Strauss said when the story broke in March 2011, she was in disbelief. She said she gave Jerry the benefit of the doubt, and went over to the Sanduskys with her kids to tell them she supported them.
She said one of her young sons began to play with the Sanduskys’ dog during their visit.
Strauss said looking back on the interaction between her son and Sandusky, it’s unsettling given the charges.
Jerry was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse, but he continues to maintain his innocence through his attorneys.
When the Kletchkas first moved into the neighborhood 10 years ago from the midwest, Paul said he had no idea who Jerry was. But the realtor and members of the community built up Jerry’s image, he said.
Immediately, though, Dana said she could tell Jerry didn’t relate to other adults. She said she chalked it up to him being busy and working on his charity, but said she could tell he related to kids better.
After 10 years, the Kletchka’s said they were “beating themselves up” about not knowing what was going on next door.
“Here there was this danger and all of this harm being done right under our noses and we had no idea,” Paul said.
In retrospect, Strauss said she heard people saying it had been a long-standing rumor to “keep your kids away from Jerry.”
“There was enough that was visible and there should have been red flags, but he was just so good at putting forward that mask of goodness and philanthropy that no one saw through what was really happening,” Strauss said.
Though Dana said most of the neighborhood is trying to move forward, there are still some who support Jerry.
Others were irritated by the national media presence literally in their own backyards. Dottie and another neighbor made numerous complaints to the police about the media, Paul said.
Due to the complaints, the neighborhood was designated as a no parking area by College Township, he said.
“Because it doesn’t suit [Dottie] anymore, all of us have to suffer,” Dana said. “If we want to have a party, we have to call the township.”
Paul said he was reading articles in which he was quoted in and saw on the online comments someone had written, “I have one word for you Mr. Kletchka: Move.”
But it’s not that easy, he said. Paul said it is a fantasy to think that someone would buy his house, mostly because of its proximity to the Sandusky house.
“Certainly there are things pulling us back and forth,” Paul said. “This is our home, why should we have to get out of here if we didn’t do anything wrong?”
Though Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October, Strauss said it would have meant more symbolically to see him be forced to serve more years.
But for Paul, seeing Jerry in his prison jumpsuit after the sentencing was “the most therapeutic” thing for him.
Though the sentencing process is over, Paul warned that the story is not.
“The other thing is, as much as I think everyone would like to think, ‘OK, I know what is going on, I know that this is the truth,’ we all need to remember that the story is not over, and there will be a lot more to come out,” he said. “To think that we know exactly what happened now is premature.”