The attorney representing retired Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky on Wednesday defended his client’s interview on national television Monday night and urged the public to let the legal process take place.
Sandusky was interviewed by Bob Costas on the NBC program “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” where Sandusky maintained his innocence against 40 charges of child sex abuse. During the interview, Sandusky told Costas he had showered with boys, said he wasn’t a pedophile and denied that he was sexually attracted to young boys.
His attorney, Joe Amendola, said Wednesday the interview was to let people know they have a defense strategy “because up until we went public, individuals were just assuming that what the commonwealth witnesses were saying was true.”
“The way he came across in that interview via the phone and his answers were consistent with the way Jerry’s been ever since I’ve known him,” Amendola said. “He’s slow in response, he takes his time, he thinks about what he’s being asked, and he gives an answer. And I think that the more people who hear him explain that he didn’t commit the acts of which he’s been charged, the better off he’s going to be down the road.”
Amendola said he’s kept Sandusky from speaking publicly about the allegations, but he said he consented to the interview after being contacted by NBC.
Sandusky said he is innocent of charges that he sexually assaulted eight boys over 15 years. He said he had no sexual contact with the boys, and Amendola said the Attorney General’s Office filed as many charges as they did in the hope that some would hold up in court.
Amendola said Sandusky didn’t admit to anything criminal by telling Costas that he had showered with boys. Some attorneys interviewed Tuesday by Mc- Clatchy Newspapers’ reporter Curtis Tate said Sandusky’s statements could amount to an admission that he’d committed the misdemeanor crime of indecent exposure.
Amendola said Sandusky and the boys were naked after working out, but he said the locker room showers are large and that Sandusky wasn’t within inches of the boys. Amendola said he’d dispute it as a criminal offense at trial.
In the interview with Costas, Amendola said he had identified victim two, the boy in the grand jury indictment who the attorney general alleges Sandusky had sex with in a shower in an on-campus locker room on March 1, 2002. Then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified to the grand jury he witnessed the sexual act and told former head football coach Joe Paterno about it.
On Wednesday, Amendola said he’s working to identify that boy, and he said that some of the boys referenced in the indictment remain friends with Sandusky.
“In fact, two of them, (Sandusky) says, had dinner with him and his wife as recently as this past summer,” Amendola said.
Amendola questioned if his client would receive a fair trial in Centre County, but he said a change of venue in Pennsylvania might not be possible given “adverse media coverage” and “public sentiment.”
An out-of-county senior judge from Westmoreland County, Robert E. Scott, will preside over Sandusky’s preliminary hearing, scheduled for Dec. 7. Centre County court officials requested an out-of-county judge.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.