Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Amendola takes issue with PSU ‘victims’ reference

Jerry Sandusky, left, is escorted out of the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa., after a hearing, Friday, February 10, 2012, by Sheriff Denny Nau, right.  Centre Daily Times/Nabil K. Mark
Jerry Sandusky, left, is escorted out of the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa., after a hearing, Friday, February 10, 2012, by Sheriff Denny Nau, right. Centre Daily Times/Nabil K. Mark Centre Daily Times

Jerry Sandusky’s attorney said he is concerned when Penn State refers to those who say the former football coach abused them as “Sandusky’s victims,” when a trial hasn’t yet taken place.

“He still has not been tried,” said Joe Amendola. “The law says he’s presumed to be innocent, and yet we have these groups continuously coming up and saying they want to support the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse. It’s very, very troubling.”

Amendola said Thursday that the references could make finding a fair jury even harder.

“It creates a bigger problem, for us to try to select a fair and impartial jury that really hasn’t been tainted by all of this information that’s being put out there by people who never even looked at the evidence,” he said.

On Wednesday, the university announced it was working with an outside company to provide counseling services to people who say they have been abused by Sandusky. The company, Praesidium Inc., of Arlington, Texas, receives the calls of the alleged victims and puts them in contact with counselors where they live.

According to a university spokeswoman, Penn State is paying Praesidium $200 an hour for their services.

Amendola said he doesn’t have a problem with Penn State establishing the hotline. But, he does have a problem when the service is tied specifically to Sandusky.

“To make it person-specific and to say specifically, ‘We are starting this program to help those people who were abused by so and so,’ and so and so hasn’t even gone to trial yet, hasn’t been convicted and maintains his innocence from the very outset of this case, that’s the troubling part,” Amendola said.

Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence, is facing charges for alleged sexual abuse of 10 boys over a period of 15 years. He is scheduled to stand trial in May. Amendola filed a motion to dismiss the case Thursday.

Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648.

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