BELLEFONTE — The identity of one alleged victim in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case cannot be made public by the courts, Sandusky or his lawyer, an out-of-county judge ordered Tuesday after the victim’s attorneys said their client fears being publicly named.
Kathy A. Morrow, president judge of Perry and Juniata counties, approved the request after the county’s four judges recused themselves Tuesday from hearing any matters related to the Sandusky case. Their recusals were intended to avoid any notion of impropriety, according to a news release from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
The local attorneys representing the alleged victim, Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, filed the request because they think parties in the case would have filed court documents or made statements identifying their client.
Sandusky is facing 40 charges related to alleged sexual abuse of eight boys he met through The Second Mile, a State College-based charity he founded. Sandusky has maintained his innocence.
The order stipulates that court records must refer to Shubin and Andronici’s client as “John Doe.” It also orders that any parts of the record in the Sandusky criminal case that reference the alleged victim be sealed and that any identifiable information in court materials be redacted.
“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 said in a news release.
Andronici said keeping the identities of victims of sexual abuse confidential is crucial because of the pressure the victims face as the case has received national media attention.
“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,” she said.
Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, was interviewed Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and refuted allegations made by Victim One, whose report to authorities in 2009 started the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office that led to the abuse charges.
Centre County’s judges, David E. Grine, Thomas King Kistler, Pamela A. Ruest and Bradley P. Lunsford, recused themselves on Tuesday, the state’s court system announced in a news release. They did so “to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest due to real or perceived connections” to Sandusky, the Second Mile charity Sandusky founded, or Penn State, the release states.
Grine, the county’s president judge, will retire at the end of the year. His son, Jonathan Grine, was elected to the seat on the county court two weeks ago, and will assume office in January. Court Administrator Maxine Ishler didn’t know Tuesday if Jonathan Grine would recuse himself from the case.
In place of the county judges, McKean County Senior Judge John M. Cleland will hear the criminal case against Sandusky. Morrow will hear petitions filed by the attorneys until Cleland takes jurisdiction.
Neither Cleland nor Morrow has any known connection to Penn State, Sandusky or The Second Mile, the release stated.
On Tuesday, the preliminary hearing for Sandusky was rescheduled for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13 at the Centre County Courthouse to accommodate “logistical needs.” Westmoreland County Senior District Judge Robert E. Scott will preside over the hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence in the case to proceed to trial.
Scott was appointed after David Grine requested an out-of-county district judge be assigned to preside over Sandusky’s preliminary hearing to “avoid any appearance of impropriety.”
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.