Jerry Sandusky’s attorney said Saturday his client’s interview with The New York Times was a way to offer Sandusky’s side to “as many people as possible” and familiarize the public with his client’s inarticulate manner of speaking.
The interview came at the request of the newspaper, said the attorney, Joe Amendola. It was published less than two weeks before Sandusky’s preliminary hearing Dec. 13 on 40 counts of child sex abuse in which Amendola said he can’t offer evidence to refute the charges.
A local attorney who is part of a team representing one of the alleged victims on Saturday criticized Sandusky’s decision to give the interview.
“If (Sandusky) had any compassion for his victims or our community, he would immediately accept responsibility for his behavior, express remorse for the pain he has caused, and spare the victims, their families and our community further trauma,” Andrew Shubin said.
Amendola acknowledged the criticism generated by Sandusky’s response to a question from Bob Costas during a phone interview on the NBC program “Rock Center” last month. Costas had asked Sandusky if he was sexually attracted to young boys, and Sandusky hesitated, then said: “I enjoy young people. I love to be around them, but no, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.”
For the Times’ video interview, reporter Jo Becker asked Sandusky about that exchange with Costas. Sandusky responded to her that he was attracted to boys and girls, and Amendola, who was off-camera, added, “yeah, but not sexually.”
Amendola said Saturday that Sandusky doesn’t answer questions right away and takes time to think about them. He said Sandusky didn’t do many interviews while he was Penn State’s defensive coordinator.
“People just assume ... that he’s an articulate and good speaker,” Amendola said. “But he really isn’t.”
But those who know Sandusky, Amendola said, know “he reflects on everything he says.”
Amendola said he’s known Sandusky for six or seven years. They met when Amendola volunteered with The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky started in 1977.
“He takes a long time to get answers out,” Amendola said. “People who know him know that.
“The more people who get used to that, the more people who see him discuss things and talk ... will just realize that’s Jerry.”
Shubin called Sandusky’s remarks “an entirely unconvincing denial and a series of bizarre explanations.”
David Marshall, an attorney with the Washington, D.C., civil rights law firm of Katz, Marshall and Banks LLP, which has partnered with Shubin and State College attorney Justine Andronici to represent one of the alleged victims, suggested the interview worked in the prosecution’s favor.
“Sandusky’s lengthy interview goes a long way toward corroborating the victims’ accounts and further expanding the web of liability,” Marshall said.
“He admits he ‘wrestled’ and showered alone with boys, gave them gifts and money, and traveled with them. Surprisingly, Sandusky’s interview also revealed that to this day, Penn State has not taken away Sandusky’s keys to the football locker room where so much of the abuse occurred,” he said.
Sandusky has maintained his innocence since the grand jury’s investigation began more than two years ago.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.