The attorney representing Jerry Sandusky said at least one new investigation by Centre County Children and Youth Services into allegations of sexual abuse by Sandusky involve a family member and are the result of a family dispute.
Attorney Joseph Amendola called the allegations “ridiculous and unfounded.”
“It’s important to keep in mind these allegations were made after the AG filed charges against Jerry even though the alleged incident(s) took place before the AG’s charges were filed,” Amendola said in an email.
Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. He maintains he is innocent of the charges.
The (Harrisburg) Patriot- News has reported that a pair of new claims were brought within the past two months and are being investigated by Children and Youth Services, which handles allegations involving victims who are minors. No charges have been filed.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Scott Conklin on Wednesday called for an independent prosecutor with no ties to the Sandusky case to take over criminal prosecution from the state Attorney General’s Office.
“I want to make sure that with anybody involved in the prosecution of this case, there is not the illusion that they have ties to the case,” Conklin said.
State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, disagreed Wednesday, saying Attorney General Linda Kelly is an independent official “and I don’t see a conflict of interest just because she was appointed by the governor.”
Gov. Tom Corbett was attorney general when grand jury investigation into an allegation against Sandusky began more than two years ago, and turned over the case to Kelly when he became governor. As governor, he’s also an ex-officio member of Penn State’s board of trustees. Conklin also said several people associated with The Second Mile contributed to Corbett’s election campaign.
Kelly is prosecuting Sandusky on 40 charges of sexual abuse stemming from allegations that he raped, molested or inappropriately touched eight boys over a period of 15 years. Two Penn State officials — one retired, the other on leave — are facing charges they perjured themselves in the investigation.
Corman said he doesn’t think there is a conflict, and Kelly should be allowed to continue.
“I think she should do her job. She brought forth the presentment of the attorney general to the grand jury, and by all evidence the investigation picked up after she became attorney general,” Corman said.
Corman also said he wasn’t going to second-guess how prosecutors work or the length of time the investigation took.
He suggested the Attorney General’s Office hand off the case to an independent prosecutor much as former Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira recused himself from investigating the allegations against Sandusky in 2008. Madeira referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office, citing a potential conflict of interest.
“They should welcome this,” Conklin said. “It has nothing to do with their qualifications.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his office has no plans of joining the investigation into the allegations that Sandusky may have transported some alleged victims over state lines.
“We don’t have any intention of doing that at this point,” Holder said. “At this point, we will monitor the situation. The involved U.S. attorney has offered his help to the state authorities who are handling this matter at this point.”
Conklin said he thinks how the case was handled needs to be reviewed, too. He said there is the illusion that the case may not have been prosecuted quickly enough, given that it involved allegations of child molestation. The investigation started about three years ago.
Conklin also noted that the governor, although aware of the investigation, signed off on a $3 million grant to help The Second Mile build a new facility. Centre County was going to act as the pass-through agency on that grant, which was suspended after charges were filed against Sandusky earlier this month.
Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, told the Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice that Corbett has not considered turning the case over to federal authorities.
“People who are saying that don’t know the first thing about what they’re talking about,” Harley said.
“There’s no role at all to prosecute this case for the federal government and there’s no reason,” Harley said. “Where in this investigation has anybody said that anything hasn’t been handled properly? People that complain about the length of this investigation don’t understand the details — don’t understand these types of investigations.”
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.