Jerry Sandusky isn’t asking to see therapy records from the men who say he molested them.
He wants a judge to do it.
In a brief filed Thursday, Sandusky’s attorney, Al Lindsay, asked McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland to take the step, following up on questions of repressed memory therapy.
Sandusky is pursuing a Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition, looking for a new trial following his 2012 conviction on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse charges. Following evidentiary hearings last month, Cleland said the repressed memory issues merited more attention.
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“Mr. Sandusky has provided both trial record evidence and post-trial evidence, including statements from the Office of Attorney General itself that confirm that recovered memories/repressed memories were at issue,” Lindsay wrote.
He cited two accusers who claimed therapy being instrumental, including Sandusky’s adopted son Matt, who was not one of the 10 victims in the criminal case against the retired Penn State defensive coordinator but did settle claims with Penn State.
According to the American Psychological Association, repressed or recovered memories are a question of some debate. Rarely, the organization says, a memory might be repressed, but “convincing pseudomemories” can also be created for incidents that didn’t happen.
“The mechanism(s) by which both of these phenomena happen are not well understood and, at this point it is impossible, without other corroborative evidence, to distinguish a true memory from a false one,” the APA’s website says.
Lindsay asked that Cleland review relevant therapy notes in chambers with a “qualified expert.”
“Frankly, since the psychologist-patient privilege does not preclude such a review, and Mr. Sandusky cannot otherwise discover this evidence, he has shown exceptional circumstances warranting discovery on this issue and the limited PCRA court review requested,” Lindsay wrote.
That was not the only request from Sandusky’s camp. Lindsay also asked that the grand jury presentment be quashed and all charges subsequently dismissed.
That request stems from the issue of grand jury leaks, something that has been a hot button in Pennsylvania for years, most recently leading to the August conviction and then resignation of Kathleen Kane as attorney general.
In Sandusky’s case, the allegations of leaks include information in articles written by Sara Ganim. Ganim, now a CNN reporter, was formerly with the Centre Daily Times and then the Patriot-News, where she wrote extensively about the case.
In both the evidentiary hearings and the new brief, Lindsay raised the issue of grand jury information possibly being leaked to Ganim, as well as the original grand jury presentment being “improperly leaked and placed online.” He pointed to additional victims coming forward after the presentment was made public.
“The leak to Ms. Ganim and others unconstitutionally violated Mr. Sandusky’s due process right ...,” Lindsay wrote. “Since the allegations relating to Victims 3-10 should never have been presented to a jury, Mr. Sandusky is also entitled to a new trial on the charges relating to (the other two), as it is impossible to delineate how the prejudicial impact of the improperly admitted evidence bled through and bolstered the case as to those accusers. Indeed, the prosecution itself argued that Mr. Sandusky’s course of conduct demonstrated his guilt.”
Cleland did not close the door on additional evidentiary hearings in the PCRA petition. Lindsay said after the last evidentiary hearing that he felt good about the appeal’s chances.
Sandusky remains at Greene state prison, where he serves a 30- to 60-year sentence.