Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Alleged Sandusky victim appeals attorney general’s decision

Steven Passarello speaks about his client, a victim of Jerry Sandusky, at the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
Steven Passarello speaks about his client, a victim of Jerry Sandusky, at the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. CDT photo

Jerry Sandusky sits in Greene state prison, convicted of 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse crimes.

Attorney Steven Passarello would like to see 11 more added to that list, but first he needs to go through the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

On Wednesday, Passarello filed an appeal in Centre County Court, naming Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Executive Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Cherba and Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka.

According to court documents, Ditka and Attorney General’s Office Agent Anthony Sassano met in April with Passarello’s client, a man who said he was assaulted by Sandusky while attending a Penn State football camp in 1988. The alleged victim was pursuing a private criminal complaint after his case, first reported to state police in 2011, was not selected to be part of the 2012 prosecution.

“At the conclusion of the meeting, it was stated to the victim that he was 100 percent credible and it would be the recommendation to Attorney General Kane to approve the private criminal complaint,” Passarello wrote.

But a month later, Ditka sent a letter explaining that the case would not proceed.

“We reviewed all the facts of your allegations and found you to be compelling,” she wrote, but said a “further review of the statute of limitations” made the Attorney General’s Office decide that the case was “time barred.”

The man was born in 1971, making him 16 at the time of the assault. At the time of the incident, the statute of limitations was five years after the crime was committed. That would put the end date at June 1993. But before that date, the statute changed, making it five years after the victim’s 18th birthday, moving the chains to December 1994.

Ditka did say that an argument could be made that Sandusky was a public employee, pushing the statute further to December 2002. But before that day, the law changed again, moving the date to the victim’s 30th birthday, or December 2001, 10 years before the alleged victim would finally step forward.

Passarello disagrees with the prosecution’s interpretation.

According to his associate, Daniel Kiss, the changes in the law now allow a victim to come forward until the age of 50, and apply retroactively if the statute of limitations was still allowing prosecution in 2006. Kiss thinks it was.

The lawyers said the public servant exception should be applied again for the second extension, which would push the date to 2009 and put their client in the realm of being able to lodge his complaint until the age of 50. He is now 44.

The Attorney General’s Office could not be reached for comment.

The complaint details a story of oral sex in Sandusky’s office and the showers. The alleged victim was a quarterback from Massachusetts who said he was attending the camp at Penn State’s invitation for recruiting purposes. Sandusky was the Nittany Lions defensive coordinator.

The document asks for charges to include two felony counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and sexual assault, six counts of indecent assault and one of corruption of minors, all misdemeanors.

Kristen Houser, of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, said the case outlines problems with the statute.

“It shows how the statute of limitations can be detrimental to victims’ healing,” she said.

There is a bill now in front of the General Assembly that would eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal and civil cases in Pennsylvania.

Passarello said firm does not represent the victim in any civil suits.

John Ziegler, a radio personality and documentarian who has become a voice for the Sandusky family, including accompanying Dottie Sandusky on interviews, denies that the alleged victim’s case has any validity.

“This accuser is an obvious fraud. He came forward, not when news of the grand jury broke, but after the unfair firing of Joe Paterno, which made it clear Penn State would be giving away lots of free money and that the media would provide zero scrutiny,” he said.

“His story of being highly recruited is totally unsupported, as none of the coaches at the camp even remember him. Neither Jerry nor Dottie Sandusky recall this person and they categorically deny the allegations, as they have all of the others. The OAG was right to reject this fairy tale in 2011 and were right to do so again now.”

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the university would not comment on pending litigation.