Lawyer: Client will testify to sex abuse

Updated: November 17, 2011, 8:15 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A new judge was assigned Wednesday to handle the child sex abuse charges against former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, whose televised defense earlier this week drew a rebuke from a lawyer for one of his accusers.

The change removed a State College judge with ties to a charity founded by Sandusky for at-risk children, The Second Mile.

Harrisburg attorney Ben Andreozzi said he represents a client who will testify against Sandusky, who is accused of abusing eight boys, some on campus, over 15 years.

"I am appalled by the fact that Mr. Sandusky has elected to re-victimize these young men at a time when they should be healing," Andreozzi said in a statement released by his office. "He fully intends to testify that he was severely sexually assaulted by Mr. Sandusky."

Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, appeared with him on NBC's "Rock Center" on Monday night and cast doubt on the evidence in the case.

"We anticipate we're going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say, 'This never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred,' " Amendola said.

Andreozzi said he has his "finger on the pulse" of the case and knows of no accusers changing their stories or refusing to testify.

"To the contrary, others are actually coming forward, and I will have more information for you later this week," Andreozzi said.

Sandusky, 67, appeared on the show by phone and said he had showered with boys but never molested them.

The New York Times published an extensive report detailing the investigation on its website Wednesday night. In it, the paper reported investigators went to Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary after seeing a post on an Internet forum about Penn State athletics. They met McQueary a little more than a year ago.

"This had been weighing on him for a very long time, and our guys felt he was relieved to get it off his chest," the Times quoted one law enforcement official as saying.

The report also said investigators found details about Sandusky in a 100-page Penn State police report from 1998. That case was forwarded to the Centre County District Attorney, who decided not to take the case to trial.

The Times also reported that -- after a number of subpoenas were served at The Second Mile Foundation, the organization Sandusky had founded -- travel and expense documents from 2000 to 2003 stored at an off-site facility were missing.

Sandusky is due in court Dec. 7, and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced Wednesday that it was bringing in a Westmoreland County senior district judge to preside over his preliminary hearing. Robert E. Scott is taking over the hearing from Centre County District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who had set Sandusky's bail at $100,000.

Dutchcot donated money in 2009 to The Second Mile, where authorities say Sandusky met his victims.

The office said Scott, who has been on the bench since 1964, has no known ties to Penn State or The Second Mile.

Amendola defended the decision to have his client go on television, telling the Centre Daily Times on Wednesday the move was designed to demonstrate he had a defense.

"The more people who hear him explain that he didn't commit the acts of which he's been charged, the better off he's going to be down the road," Amendola told the newspaper.

It remains unclear how many accusers have surfaced more than a week after state police and the attorney general's office said at a news conference they were seeking additional potential victims and witnesses.

State police spokeswoman Maria Finn said investigators have told her that published accounts reporting how many people have come forward are inaccurate and they are not disclosing their internal figures.

Some plaintiffs' lawyers are starting to advertise on their websites for potential Sandusky victims, vowing to get justice. Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., attorney, has long represented clergy abuse victims and told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has been retained by several people he described as Sandusky victims.

"There's a great deal of fury and confusion," particularly because Sandusky is free on bail, Anderson said. "Getting (them) help and cooperating with law enforcement is our first priority."

The "time for reckoning," in the form of civil lawsuits, will come later, Anderson said.

Anderson declined to say whether his clients are among the eight boys who were labeled as victims in the grand jury report.

Berks County lawyer Jay Abramowitch, who has represented about 150 child sex victims, many of them in clergy abuse cases, said he is following the Penn State case closely. He declined to say if he was representing anyone accusing Sandusky of abuse.

"The real significance of what happened in the Sandusky situation is that people are beginning to understand the cover-up that goes on in any structural organization that employs a pedophile," he said. "And that's why these pedophiles are running wild."

"What's the answer? One of the answers is to allow these victims the right to go to court and file suit against not only the pedophile but the group that employed them ... and didn't do anything," Abramowitch said.

Abramowitch long fought to get around the legal time limit for victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church for decades-old abuse. In 2005, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected his argument that the suits should go through on grounds the church had concealed the abuse.

In State College, Penn State announced a physician and member of its board of trustees who played football and wrestled for the school would serve as acting athletic director. The school named Dr. David M. Joyner, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and a business consultant, as the interim replacement for Tim Curley.

Curley is on leave as athletic director as he defends himself against criminal charges that he failed to properly alert authorities when told of an allegation of a sexual assault by Sandusky against a child and that he lied to a grand jury. He maintains his innocence.

Joyner's position on the board, where he has been a trustee since 2000, is being suspended as he takes on the new duties.

Gov. Tom Corbett again defended the pace of the investigation, which he helped launch and oversaw while serving as attorney general until January.

"Could anybody guarantee he wasn't out there touching children? There are no such guarantees, unless he was sitting in jail," Corbett, a Republican, said in Philadelphia. "But we did what we thought was in the best interests of the investigation in getting a good case put together."

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced a bill that would require all adults to report child abuse and neglect to police or local child protective agencies.

And new details were emerging about how the case ended up in the hands of the state attorney general's office.

Former Centre County district attorney Michael Madeira said that his wife's brother was Sandusky's adopted son.

"I reviewed it, and I made the decision it needed to be investigated further," Madeira said. "But the apparent conflict of interest created an impediment for me to make those kinds of decisions."

Also Wednesday, a $3 million grant that was earmarked for The Second Mile was put on hold. Corbett said he knew Sandusky was gone from the organization when the state grant was approved earlier this year.

Corbett said the grant funds are being withheld in light of the growing scandal. He defended the decision to approve the grant while knowing about the child molestation allegations against Sandusky.

The scandal's fallout extended to former Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris, whose relationship with a southwestern Pennsylvania racetrack and casino was put on hiatus after he chastised Penn State's trustees for showing "no courage" for firing coach Joe Paterno, who has not been charged with a crime and is not considered a target of prosecutors.

Harris, who played for Paterno from 1968 to 1971, recently had signed as a spokesman for The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, Pa.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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