Jerry Sandusky Victim 6 lawyers oppose request from Penn State to stay civil lawsuit

mdawson@centredaily.comMarch 6, 2013 

The civil lawyers for Victim 6 in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case are challenging Penn State’s request to put his lawsuit on hold, saying the young man has already “suffered a delay of justice of more than a decade.”

The young man known as Victim 6 testified this past summer that Sandusky showered with him after a workout in 1998, and in January, the young man’s lawyers filed a federal lawsuit against Penn State, The Second Mile charity and Sandusky. He is called John Doe 6 in the suit.

Howard Janet, one of the lawyers, wrote in court papers filed Friday that he wants a hearing in front of a judge over the stay that Penn State and The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded, are seeking.

Their “actions have created a personal tragedy in the life of John Doe 6, and on a larger scale, impacted an entire network of abuse victims,” Janet wrote. “It is time for this matter to move forward to allow the healing process to begin.”

Lawyers for Penn State and The Second Mile wanted the stay, saying the ongoing criminal cases against former university administrators accused of covering up the 1998 Penn State shower incident and another one in 2001 would be prejudiced if the civil case went forward.

The lawyers said ex-president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired senior vice president Gary Schultz are likely to be “critical witnesses” in the civil suit. The lawyers said the cases against the men, which include counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, child endangerment and failure to report abuse, will not see a trial until 2014.

Janet said such a delay is not in his client’s best interests, and an issue surrounding former Penn State lawyer Cynthia Baldwin might go into appeals. Baldwin heard the leaders’ grand jury testimony and later testified against them to the grand jury, and the men’s defense lawyers want to keep her from taking the stand.

Janet criticized Penn State for asking for a stay, saying that will keep his client from seeking justice against the university and the charity.

“True to form, PSU now seeks to further delay John Doe 6 from proceeding in (c)ourt and, most importantly, to begin the healing process,” he wrote.

Janet said Penn State and The Second Mile should have resources to devote to the discovery process and that they already have “an uncommon mastery of the facts and legal issues in dispute.” Penn State even hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the matter, Janet said.

Kristen Houser, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, said childhood sex abuse has potential to disrupt survivors’ lives, income and professional goals, and a survivor’s wanting to proceed quickly is “perfectly reasonable.”

“It’s difficult and painful to have the same entities that you already feel have harmed you attempt to control the process,” she said.

Penn State has won stays on five civil cases filed by men claiming they were abused by Sandusky, the convicted pedophile who is in solitary confinement serving a state prison sentence of 30 to 60 years.

However, the university was denied a stay on the whistle-blower lawsuit filed by Mike McQueary, who testified at Sandusky’s trial that he saw the former assistant football coach and young boy in a sexual situation. McQueary’s contract was not renewed at the end of June, and he sued to recover lost wages and punitive damages.

It is not known if Janet’s client is among the 28 or so claimants who are negotiating with Penn State through their mediator, attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg and a spokeswoman for Janet on Tuesday declined to comment.

Feinberg said the settlement process continues and settlements may be reached by the end of this month.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT

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