New documents filed by Jerry Sandusky’s defense team indicate that there are at least 17 accusers filing sexual abuse charges against the former Penn State football coach, a number much higher than previously expected. Legal experts believe prosecutors will try to establish that Sandusky employed the same general pattern of abuse with the new accusers as was used with the victims listed in the original indictment. Sandusky, 68, is currently facing at least 52 charges involving sexual acts with underage boys dating back to 1994.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/25/12: On Friday, Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a period of 15 years, charges that shattered the once pristine image of Penn State University football and led to the firing of revered head coach Joe Paterno. Sandusky, a 68-year-old retired defense coach who was once considered to be next in line to take over Paterno’s job, showed little emotion as he was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/22/12: This week, one of Jerry Sandusky’s adopted sons reportedly admitted to authorities that the former Penn State assistant football coach sexually abused him as a child. Lawyers for Matt Sandusky, who is one of Jerry Sandusky’s six adopted children, issued a statement yesterday saying that the 33-year-old was prepared to testify on behalf of the prosecution in his father’s high-profile sex abuse trial.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/19/12: Friends and ex-colleagues of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky testified yesterday on behalf of the defense in order to counter prosecution witnesses’ claims that he sexually abused boys in locker room showers. The testimony came at the beginning of the second week of a trial that has proceeded at a surprisingly brisk pace.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/15/12: The high-profile child sex abuse trial involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has adjourned for the week, following graphic testimony from eight prosecution witnesses. The last witness’s testimony has been described as the most explicit of the trial to date, but also the most problematic because some of its details differed from those of earlier witnesses.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/13/12: Taking the stand for the first time on Tuesday, former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary told jurors that he saw Jerry Sandusky naked in a locker room shower engaging in explicit sex acts with a prepubescent boy about 10 years ago. McQueary’s account differed little from his testimony given last December at a preliminary hearing, except that the shower encounter took place in 2001 instead of 2002.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/11/12: Opening arguments in the high profile child sex abuse trial involving a former Penn State assistant football coach got underway today in Bellefonte, PA., thrusting the notorious scandal back into the public spotlight. Eight young men are scheduled to testify in Centre County Court about how 68-year-old Jerry Sandusky befriended and abused them as boys over a 15-year period.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 6/6/12: According to sources close to the case, Jerry Sandusky allegedly wrote one of his victims inappropriate love letters, the contents of which will be read in testimony once the high-profile child sex abuse trial begins. The handwritten letters were sent to an accuser known only as ‘Victim 4,’ who is just one of eight witnesses scheduled to testify against the disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 5/30/12: Four of Jerry Sandusky’s accusers have made formal requests for anonymity during the upcoming child sex abuse trial, which is currently scheduled to begin June 5. The disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach attended a closed-door meeting with judge John Cleland on Tuesday, a day before what could be the final hearing before the start of the trial.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 5/29/12: The Second Mile, a charitable organization founded by Jerry Sandusky, is attempting to transfer its programs and millions in assets to another youth organization. The move comes in response to a steep drop in donations and loss of volunteers that followed Sandusky’s indictment on 52 counts of sexual abuse on children he allegedly met at The Second Mile.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 5/21/12: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been denied an extension to the start of his child sex abuse trial, which is currently scheduled to begin June 5 in Centre County, PA. Judge John Cleland issued the ruling today, rejecting a second defense request to delay the trial.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 5/18/12: For the second time, Jerry Sandusky’s defense attorney has asked a judge to throw out charges of child sexual abuse filed against his notorious client. The defense contends that a number of the counts are too vague to defend, and others involve alleged victims whose identities have yet to be revealed.
- Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Update 5/10/12: Judge John Cleland has granted Jerry Sandusky’s legal team some of the documents they requested through subpoenas, but stopped short of requiring the prosecution to disclose all information related to accusers in the case. Among the materials released to the defense were documents regarding Sandusky’s conduct at The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths.
- Penn State Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Update 5/8/12: Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer has requested a postponement in his client’s child sex abuse trial, stating that he needs more time to prepare, and that without a delay he would be “unable to effectively and adequately” represent the former Penn State assistant football coach. It wasn’t immediately clear if Judge John Cleland would grant the request for postponement.
- Free Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the perpetrator of the abuse and we can help.
What’s the problem?
May 5, 2012 - The information about Sandusky’s new accusers is still relatively vague, as no specific names were mentioned, nor were the grounds for the accusations, or what (if any) role they will play in the forthcoming criminal case.
“This in all likelihood means that there are other people who have come forward who have accused him of improper sexual conduct,” said Wes Oliver, a Widener Law School professor who specializes in criminal law.
Lawyers for potential litigants have stated that they believe there are substantially more accusers than the 10 for which Sandusky currently faces charges for. To date, at least one alleged victim has filed a lawsuit that is on hold pending the results of the criminal case.
Even though at least 17 alleged victims currently intend on filing charges against Sandusky, prosecutors may not pursue charges on behalf of all the plaintiffs. There may be problems with the statute of limitations, questions about credibility, or a strategic analysis about how much evidence to put before jurors.
Depending on how the litigation plays out, any information about additional accusers for which Sandusky has not been charged could potentially help the defense team call into question the legitimacy of the prosecution’s case. There are a number of theoretical scenarios under which the inclusion of additional plaintiffs could either hurt or help Sandusky’s defense.
“If the other eight people are kooks, that’s actually a great story for the defense to put before the jury,” said Oliver. “If, however, there are eight other alleged victims out there who the prosecution just can’t corroborate but they’ve got pretty good stories, then that’s really bad for the defense.”
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was fired last November following Sandusky’s arrest, and then died of lung cancer in January. No criminal charges were brought against Paterno, but he did state that he regretted how he handled a complaint from a staff member about seeing Sandusky in a locker room shower with an underage boy about 10 years ago.
Last week, Penn State trustee Kenneth Frazier said that the FBI had conducted more than 400 interviews in its investigation into the Sandusky sexual abuse case. The investigation reportedly includes current and former employees from a number of different departments across the university. The school still hopes the investigation will be completed by the beginning of the next academic year in August, but Frazier said the timing of the report “will be dictated by how long it takes to complete a thorough investigation.”
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