PHILADELPHIA — A Penn State accuser who dined with Jerry Sandusky this summer did so only after getting permission from police, the man’s lawyer said Friday as he blasted suggestions that alleged victims remained friendly with the former Penn State coach.
“Police gave their seal of approval for him to attend. They even wanted him to wear an electronic listening device,” attorney Howard Janet said Friday. He also called into question Sandusky’s motives for inviting the man to dinner while the ex-coach knew he was under investigation.
Sandusky has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years. He is accused of mining the ranks of his Second Mile charity to find underprivileged boys to abuse.
Sandusky says he is innocent and his lawyer, Joseph Amendola, has questioned several accusers’ claims and the depiction of his client made in a grand jury report that identified the alleged victims by number. Earlier this week, Amendola told The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News that several accusers visited the Sandusky home and stayed on good terms with the ex-coach for years.
He told The Associated Press on Friday that another dinner guest that night was the man identified in the grand jury report as Victim No. 2, who Sandusky is accused of sodomizing in a Penn State shower.
Janet said another man identified as a victim in the grand jury report attended, but he did not specify who that was. He called Amendola’s claim that accusers remained friendly with Sandusky was “grotesque.” Janet represents the man known in the grand jury report as Victim No. 6, who was allegedly bear-hugged by Sandusky as they showered together at Penn State in 1998, when the boy was 11. The boy’s mother filed a complaint; a police investigation ended with no charges filed.
The alleged victim, now 24, contacted police this summer when Sandusky invited him over for dinner, Janet said. He didn’t wear a wire because he was nervous but reported back to police about the dinner afterward, the lawyer said.
The dinner started at Sandusky’s house and then moved to a restaurant, and included Sandusky and his wife.
Janet said Sandusky pitched the dinner as a chance for former Second Mile participants to get together. “Why was he arranging to meet with victims while under investigation? Was he trying to tamper with or improperly influence potential witnesses?” Janet said.
He would not say if the investigation came up in conversation that night, or detail what his client later reported back to police.
Sandusky’s lawyer said the meeting was part of an effort by Sandusky and his wife to maintain “friendships with lots of kids they helped as those kids grew into adulthood.”
“The dinner at a local State College restaurant last summer, which was attended by Jerry and Dottie and alleged Victims 2 and 6, was simply an effort on the Sanduskys’ part to maintain those long established positive relationships with young men who the Sanduskys believed were their friends,” Amendola said.
Victim No. 2 was the boy seen being abused by Sandusky in a Penn State shower in 2002, according to the grand jury report. The witness, since identified as then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, told football coach Joe Paterno about the incident, the report said. Police were never notified.
The grand jury report said the boy had not been located. Amendola has said he thinks the alleged victim is being represented by a State College attorney who did not respond to messages left by the AP late Friday.
Penn State fired Paterno and school President Graham Spanier after the report was made public. Two former Penn State officials are charged with failing to report complaints of abuse, and with lying to a grand jury. They have pleaded not guilty.
Sandusky is free on bail, and is next due in court on Dec. 13 for a preliminary hearing.