Five years to the day after the charges in the Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse investigation were released, the man who identifies himself as the case’s most famous victim was on the witness stand in Bellefonte.
That would be Victim 2 — the boy in the shower at the Lasch Building, who Mike McQueary testified about to the grand jury and during Sandusky’s 2012 criminal trial.
The boy who was never identified in the court proceedings.
That was why he was in court on Friday. Sandusky’s attorneys called him as part of their argument that the prosecution knew of his existence but declined to put him on the stand, even going so far as Joseph McGettigan saying his identity was “known only to God” during his closing arguments.
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The strategy was risky. McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland made sure that Sandusky knew that up front. Before the witness was called, Cleland personally questioned the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator about it.
“Do you understand his testimony may be harmful to you?” he asked.
“Yes,” Sandusky said. “I believe we should go through with what we are doing.”
Defense attorneys Al Lindsay and Andrew Salemme had not talked to the witness beforehand. They put him on the stand not knowing what he would say.
What he said was not surprising, both agreeing with earlier recollections when he spoke to Sandusky’s original defense team and said he was not assaulted, and telling the prosecution that in fact he had.
He also admitted to receiving a settlement from Penn State but said he was not permitted to disclose its terms.
Penn State has paid out $93 million to 32 claimants, an average of $2.9 million apiece.
Lindsay asked about the witness’ representation by attorney Andrew Shubin, who had several Sandusky claimants as clients. The witness was originally represented by Shubin for a driving under the influence charge.
“You said you hired Mr. Shubin to advise you?” Lindsay asked. “Did you hire him to get you some money?”
“No,” the witness said.
“Did he get you some money?” asked Lindsay, who has made a possible motive for lying part of his case.
The defense objected, but the judge answered.
“Isn’t the answer obvious?” Cleland said.
Lindsay said after the proceeding — the latest evidentiary hearing in the defense’s Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition — that he thought it went well. He admitted it was a risky gambit, part of an attempt to gain a new trial for Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence while serving a 30- to 60-year sentence at Greene state prison.
Dottie Sandusky said she believed the hearing went well for her husband. She shook her head when talking about the witness, who lived in her home after he graduated from a Clearfield County high school.
“That was not the (boy) we knew,” she said.
The witness said he moved out because Sandusky was “controlling.”
Prosecutor Jennifer Peterson asked the witness if he was sexually abused. He said yes. He did not specifically say he was abused by Sandusky or when.
Sandusky took the stand afterward to answer one question: Did he abuse the man in question?
“Absolutely not,” he said, breathing hard and raggedly into the microphone.