Crime

Ziegler removed, arrested at Matt Sandusky event in Lewisburg

A talk by Matt Sandusky at a Union County school saw a man arrested Wednesday.

John Ziegler is a conservative radio host and documentarian who has spent several years following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, taking a position against the 2012 conviction of the retired Penn State defensive coordinator. He has often acted as a kind of spokesman for that side, criticizing the case and the media.

He was charged with criminal trespass on school grounds, criminal trespass-communication, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

Matt Sandusky, Jerry’s son, was speaking at the school. Matt Sandusky came forward as a victim. He wrote a book called “Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sex Abuse.” His appearance was sponsored by Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children and Transitions, a crisis center serving Union County.

Police say they were warned in advance that some people registered for the event might “potentially cause problems,” according to court documents.

Ziegler was one of those people.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Transitions director Susan Mathias spoke with Ziegler when he arrived at the school, explaining the rules. Another man, identified in court documents as Tom, accompanied Ziegler and videotaped the exchange.

Police say the situation escalated from there.

“I politely asked (Ziegler) to enter into the school and take his seat. I shook (Ziegler’s) hand as he informed me how proud that (he) was to already be identified and that (he) thought that this was still a somewhat free country,” wrote Buffalo Valley Regional Police Officer Shawn Burns. “(Ziegler) informed me to be aware that he would cause problems at the presentation.”

But police say the problems came before the presentation started, when Ziegler went to take a seat in the reserved section at the front of the auditorium. Burns said Ziegler refused to move when Mathias requested and refused several directions from police before eventually taking another seat.

The Lewisburg school district superintendent asked that Ziegler be removed, according to the affidavit. Police say they were forced to physically remove him, but not before he did have an exchange with the speaker.

“The hallway we chose happened to be where Matthew Sandusky was standing,” Burns wrote. “(Ziegler) screamed very loudly at Sandusky that Sandusky was a liar.”

“The ‘incident’ was a farce created by Matt Sandusky’s fear of being exposed as the obvious liar that he is,” Ziegler said Thursday. “The charges are bogus and I look forward to my full vindication in court.”

He is free on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is set for May 5.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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