Crime

No proof of grand jury leaks in Sandusky case, OAG says

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said there is no proof of a grand jury leak in Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse case.

And even if there was, it’s not a reason for the court to do anything about it.

In a document filed Tuesday, Deputy AG Jennifer Peterson took aim at arguments from Sandusky’s attorneys.

Al Lindsay and Andrew Salemme say the grand jury presentment should be quashed and charges dismissed because of leaks. They claim most of the victims in Sandusky’s case came forward after details from the grand jury were leaked.

But Peterson isn’t convinced.

“Even though evidence of a breach of grand jury secrecy was to be assumed only for the purposes of addressing this court’s limited inquiry as to the existence of a remedy, Sandusky has taken the opportunity to once again trumpet his false narrative of how law enforcement did, in fact, improperly leak information to (reporter Sara Ganim),” Peterson wrote.

The issue of leaks was not only raised by Sandusky’s legal team. During evidentiary hearings last month for his Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition, multiple witnesses discussed concerns raised about leaks, including investigations conducted at the time within the OAG and at the behest of the supervising grand jury judge, Barry Feudale, who has since been removed from office.

She also argued that victims who came forward later were not a result of Ganim’s articles, and that even if there was a breach, that alone does not merit quashing or dismissal in the case.

“It is important to note that the type of prosecutorial misconduct being alleged here is not even remotely tied to the presentation of evidence,” Peterson wrote. “Instead, Sandusky’s allegation is simply that the prosecution improperly revealed to the media the fact that there was a grand jury investigation that involved ... allegations of abuse.”

The defense also asked McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland to review therapy notes in chambers regarding suggestions of “repressed memories.”

The controversial issue was raised in the PCRA petition and evidentiary hearings. The defense attorneys contend that repressed or recovered memories were an issue for multiple accusers. During a press conference after the last hearing, Lindsay said he was not calling the young men in the case liars.

“There is substantial expert testimony that people can actually believe something that didn’t happen,” he said, pointing to the roles of both therapy and “suggestive questioning from police officers” in the development of those beliefs.

Peterson actually agreed with many of the points of law Lindsay raised in his filings, but differed with some of the interpretation.

“Treating a victim in a criminal case as being on the same footing as a plaintiff pursuing a civil lawsuit in terms of evaluating implied waiver of psychologist-patient privilege is certainly a fundamental break from precedent,” she wrote.

Cleland has said additional evidentiary hearings may be held in the case.

Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse crimes in 2012, is serving a 30- to-60 year sentence at Greene state prison.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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