Judge: Name in Sandusky Case to Be Confidential
UPDATE @ 9:28 p.m. Nov. 22: Jerry Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, has shared some comments for use in this report, below. It's been updated to include Amendola's remarks.
Parties involved in the Jerry Sandusky criminal case must hold as confidential the identity of at least one alleged victim, a judge ordered Tuesday.
Full details of the order were not immediately clear. But it was filed in Centre County court, according to a written statement from lawyers representing the alleged victim.
They sought the order, they said.
Their statement indicates that the judge was assigned by the state court administrator. Lawyers released the statement after county court offices had closed for the day.
"We expect the lawyers representing Jerry Sandusky and the other Penn State defendants to file court documents that would publicly identify our client or his family," State College-based attorney Andrew Shubin said in the statement. "Right now, our client and the other victims we are speaking with are terrified about being publicly identified, and we will continue to do everything legally possible to prevent that from happening."
Shubin, reached by phone, said his legal team would have no comment Tuesday beyond their prepared statement. The team includes Shubin; David J. Marshall, of the Washington, D.C., law firm Katz, Marshall and Banks; local attorney Justine Andronici; and University of Pennsylvania professor Seth Kreimer.
"Confidentiality is an essential protection for victims of sexual abuse," Andronici said in the statement. "And it is especially important in this case because of intense media attention and the pressure that many of these victims are under."
Organized by Shubin, the legal team has assembled to offer legal services to those identified as Sandusky sexual-abuse victims. The lawyers have said they expect to pursue civil lawsuits against responsible parties.
Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, said via e-mail Tuesday that he has "never attempted to reveal the names of any of the unnamed individuals associated with this case.
"I believe this action (by Shubin's team) was taken as a protective measure ... and was directed (toward) the other parties in this case," Amendola wrote. " ... We'll have to wait for the preliminary hearing to see whom the commonwealth will call as witnesses. Jerry's looking forward to finally facing his accusers."
Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach, is accused of a prolonged pattern of child sexual abuse. He is facing 40 criminal counts. A grand-jury presentment released Nov. 5 refers to eight victims, though news organizations have reported that additional possible victims have since stepped forward.
Amendola, in an e-mail exchange, reiterated that "Jerry has maintained his innocence from the outset of the initial allegations in this matter, and he has a defense to the charges he's facing.
"He would like to thank his family, friends and former Second Mile participants who have expressed their support of him and their belief in his innocence as to these allegations," Amendola went on. (The Second Mile is the nonprofit group that Sandusky founded in 1977.)
Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday that all county-level judges in Centre County have removed themselves from presiding over the Sandusky case. In another development, Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola has said he is concerned that more criminal charges may be forthcoming, The Associated Press reported.
In addition, a preliminary hearing for Sandusky is now scheduled for Dec. 13, The Daily Collegian reported. Also according to the Collegian, an attorney for a former Penn State vice president, Gary Schultz, has said his client was not told details of an alleged child rape in 2002. (Schultz and Tim Curley, another longtime Penn State administrator, have been charged with perjury and failure to report.)
Earlier coverage is available via the page linked below. The full text of the statement shared by Shubin's legal team is posted below, as well.
Statement from Shubin's legal team:
Pennsylvania Court Issues Order Protecting Identity of Penn State Sexual Abuse Victim
A judge assigned by the Pennsylvania Administrative of the Courts today ordered the parties in the Jerry Sandusky criminal sexual abuse case not to disclose the identify of one of the alleged victims, whom the court referred to in its order as "John Doe." The order also requires attorneys, the court clerk, and the District Court to keep "John Doe" and his family's identities confidential. State College attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, who represent John Doe in connection the Penn State sexual abuse case, filed the motion today in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas.
Attorney Shubin explains: "We expect the lawyers representing Jerry Sandusky and the other Penn State defendants to file court documents that would publicly identify our client or his family. Right now our client and the other victims we are speaking with are terrified about being publicly identified, and we will continue to do everything legally possible to prevent that from happening."
Andronici, who has extensive experience working with victims of abuse, said she appreciated the court's willingness to protect the identities of Penn State sexual abuse victims. "Confidentiality is an essential protection for victims of sexual abuse," Andronici said, "and it is especially important in this case because of the intense media attention and the pressure that many of these victims are under. That pressure will certainly grow as the lawyers representing the criminal defendants attempt to attack the victims' credibility – a tactic that they have already employed in the national media."
The victim referred to in today's order as "John Doe" is represented by a legal team consisting of Shubin, Andronici, David J. Marshall of the Washington, D.C., law firm of Katz, Marshall & Banks, and University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Seth Kreimer. The team is advising victims of sexual abuse at Penn State and expects to file civil lawsuits against the responsible parties.