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'This Is Not Going to Go Away.' Sandusky's Attorney Discusses Continued Pursuit of New Trial, Alumni Trustee Report

by on February 25, 2019 3:22 PM

Jerry Sandusky's post-conviction attorney said he will continue to pursue a new trial for his client and that if a new one is granted, he believes he will prove Sandusky's innocence.

Attorney Al Lindsay spoke at a press conference Monday at the Country Inn & Suites in State College, where he was joined by a former federal investigator, a longtime colleague and friend of Sandusky and an investigative journalist.

The press conference was spurred by a few recent developments. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Superior Court granted a re-sentencing for Sandusky, but denied his request for a new trial for the former Penn State football assistant coach, who was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted in 2012 on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. Lindsay said he will now petition the state Supreme Court for a new trial, and if that is denied will take it to federal court.

"Anybody who thinks this thing can be suppressed and suppressed and is going to go away, I have two words for you: dream on," Lindsay said. "This is not going to go away. Thirty years from now there will be books written about this [asking] ‘How did our system go so wrong?’" 

Last week, meanwhile, seven Penn State alumni trustees' review of the Freeh Report was leaked and offered a highly critical look at the university-commissioned investigation and conclusions of former FBI director Louis Freeh's team.

Lindsay praised the report for its insight but said it was flawed because it accepted the premise that Sandusky committed the crimes for which he was convicted. The report, he said, refers to the concept of a "pillar of the community pedophile," who uses his stature to prey on children and dupe other adults.

"To be that type of pedophile, you have to be a very conniving, secretive person," Lindsay said. "In the report, they state themselves that Jerry Sandusky is like a big kid. Those of us who know Jerry well, the idea that he could keep anything secret is ridiculous. This guy is as open as you could possibly imagine... Too many people know Jerry Sandusky and they’ve been intimidated and cowed and [are] afraid to say this is impossible that he could have committed these crimes."

The alumni trustees' report said Freeh's team was compromised by collaboration with the state attorney general's office and the NCAA and ignored critical evidence to conclude that former President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Coach Joe Paterno knew about Sandusky's actions and covered them up.

The accusations against Paterno and the administrators stemmed from former football assistant Mike McQueary's 2001 report of seeing Sandusky with a boy in a locker room shower. That incident also was a key piece of the prosecution's case against Sandusky. The former administrators said they had not been told of sexual contact, and McQueary has testified that while he believes what he saw was sexual, he did not explicitly describe it as rape, as was stated in a grand jury presentment.

"We like to say McQueary is the Christmas tree upon which all the ornaments were hung," Lindsay said. "[He] is very, very vulnerable to good cross-examination because there were so many different versions of the McQueary testimony."

Lindsay criticized Sandusky's trial attorney, Joe Amendola, for numerous alleged missteps, actions which have formed the basis of Sandusky's post-conviction relief appeal. Among those, Lindsay said Amendola handed off cross-examination of McQueary at trial at the last minute to co-counsel Karl Rominger.

"Karl Rominger had an hour to prepare that cross-examination, the most significant cross-examination maybe in the history of American jurisprudence," Lindsay said. "That’s the kind of ineffective trial counsel Mr. Sandusky had in this case."

The boy at the center of the shower incident was not identified at trial, but Lindsay has argued throughout appeals that he did come forward and first said nothing happened, then retained a lawyer and received a monetary settlement from the university. Lindsay said both prosecutors and Amendola agreed not to identify him at trial.

The alumni trustees' report cites former NCIS agent John Snedden's investigation to determine if Spanier should maintain high-level federal security clearance for potential government work. Snedden, who spoke on Monday, found no wrongdoing by Spanier and has been critical of Freeh's investigation as well.

But, Lindsay said, the alumni trustees report does not note that Snedden's investigation concluded Sandusky had done nothing criminal.

"There was no cover up. There was no conspiracy," Snedden said. "There was nothing to cover up."

Snedden said his investigation led him to believe that Freeh's report was pre-determined "to satisfy his clients and handlers," and was used to justify decisions made by the Penn State Board of Trustees. 

"It is abundantly clear now Freeh was not interested in any exculpatory information as it would adversely impact his already written pre-determined conclusions," said Snedden, who also questioned McQueary's credibility as a witness and the political motivations of the attorney general's office and former Gov. Tom Corbett.

Former Penn State assistant coach Dick Anderson, who worked alongside Sandusky for decades, described his own experience of being interviewed by Freeh's team, which told him the interview would not be recorded and he could not have access to any notes taken. He said he was met with leading statements such as "We hear that Joe Paterno runs everything at this university." Anderson said the perception of Paterno having an outsize or improper influence on university operations was far from the truth.

Anderson added that while he was not personally threatened or bullied by Freeh investigators, he knew many others who were, some to the point of tears.

"Louie Freeh was deceptive and dishonest," Anderson said. "He hurt many people and a great institution with a false narrative."

Investigative reporter Ralph Cipriano, a former Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer writer who has covered the Sandusky case in depth on BigTrial.net, said the alumni trustees report "just scratches the surface of the scandal behind the scandal at Penn State."

That, he said, is the university's payment of $118 million to 36 people who said they were abused by Sandusky. Those claimants were not interviewed, deposed or subjected to background checks, he said.

Cipriano cited his conversations with a former FBI agent who privately investigated more than 150 abuse cases for the Archdiocese of  Philadelphia and noted several "red flags" in the Penn State case. He said those included that for the 36 claims of abuse over four decades, there were no contemporaneous complaints, that stories changed frequently and that much-criticized repressed memory therapy seemed to be used to recall the incidents.

He also said that Sandusky's medical records show multiple ailments and genetic conditions that would make it unlikely Sandusky would be sexually aggressive.

Cipriano said "we in the media often get sex abuse wrong," and that the Sandusky case has been "a journalistic disaster."

Lindsay said the case in the media was built on the earliest stories and that he challenges journalists to look into it more closely.

"This is one heck of a story about how all of this happened," Lindsay said. "My deal is to challenge the media. OK that was a story. You built on a narrative. But we need to start a new narrative, that the whole doggone thing is preposterous. It’s a horror story and it deserves attention."



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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