Attorney for Several Victims Plans to Exercise Subpoena Power to Dig Deeper into Freeh Report
PHILADELPHIA — Louis Freeh’s damning 267-page presentment on the Penn State scandal opens the floodgates for civil action, according to an attorney for several of Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
“It’s very important in terms of liability,” said Matt Casey, co-counsel for multiple victims, including Nos. 3, 7 and 10 in the grand jury report. “The case after today is no longer warranted on simply negligence.
“Under the law, reckless conduct is punishable by punitive damages. The very word in Pennsylvania law used to describe that kind of conduct is shocking. And that word, I don’t think by accident, was used by Judge Freeh today.”
Casey offered no timeline for when he would file civil suits. He said more victims have come forward in the case, and he intends to use subpoena power to uncover even more facts not outlined in the Freeh Report.
Moments after Sandusky learned he would be going to jail forever last month, Penn State released a statement saying it will “invite victims” to settle civil litigation against the university.
Casey, when asked who he planned to subpoena, said, "A lot people.”
The Freeh investigation had no subpoena power and could not compel testimony. It was an independent investigation commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees for $500,000 a month. If somebody did not want to talk, they didn’t have to.
Tim Curley and Gary Schultz both exercised that right because of their ongoing perjury cases.
Freeh’s investigation found the two former officials, as well as former football coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier, covered up suspected child sex abuse by Sandusky for more than a decade out of fear of bad publicity and tarnishing the Penn State brand.
“It certainly means we have a lot more information, a lot more context to the information,” Casey said. “It shows that there is little doubt that people at the highest levels of Penn State — I mean little doubt. We heard in the press reports recently that we needed more context in the emails that we got.
“Well, we got the context today, and it was even worse.”
Added Casey: “These men facilitated this abuse, there’s just no question about it. They did it to protect themselves and their jobs and the university from bad publicity. You couldn’t say it any more bluntly than that. It was about power and money and people trying to protect themselves.
“And these kids, for goodness sakes, were victimized because of that. It’s just a horrible, horrible story.”
In statement Thursday afternoon, State College-based attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici said they intend to show Penn State and The Second Mile knew about Sandusky’s abuse decades earlier and failed to stop it. Shubin and Andronici are working with Casey and the Philadelphia-based firm Ross Feller Casey, LLP and also represent Matt Sandusky, Jerry’s adopted son.
Freeh hinted there was a culture of fear in challenging the Penn State name. It ultimately led to years of silence, something that could’ve easily been avoided if not for the many missed chances at stopping Sandusky.
"They [the janitors] witnessed what I think in the report is probably the most horrific rape that's described. And what do they do? They panic,” Freeh said.
“They were alarmed and shocked by it. But what did they do? They said, 'We can't report this because we’ll get fired.'
“They knew who Sandusky was. … They were afraid to take on the football program. They said the university would circle around it. It was like going against the President of the United States. If that's the culture on the bottom, God help the culture at the top."