Penn State Scandal
Former Penn State Assistant Coach and Second Mile Founder Jerry Sandusky for 52 Counts of Child Sex Abuse
MARCI A. HAMILTON | verdict.justia.com
JUNE 12, 2012
I was here in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania on Dec. 13, 2011, when the state was supposed to preview its case against former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky, who is charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse, in a preliminary hearing. At the time, it seemed as if the entire media world had converged on little Bellefonte. The evening before the hearing, as I walked to the courthouse to pick up my media credentials, it was chilly and dark. I was moved by the eerie halo of light surrounding the courthouse—only to realize that a collection of satellite trucks was its source.
The gathering of press and members of the public was large, for the preliminary hearing had generated quite a buzz, and for some, anxiety. There were high expectations of drama.Read more...
Documents Reveal Secret File Regarding Sandusky & Sex Abuse
June 11, 2012
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Documents filed by the Attorney General's office indicate new evidence has been uncovered against several former Penn State officials, including Graham Spanier and Gary Schultz.
In documents obtained by KDKA-TV investigators, the Attorney General's Office indicates former vice president Schultz kept a secret file with allegations regarding Sandusky and sex abuse. This comes after an NBC report alleges Spanier did not report alleged abuse because it would be humane to Sandusky to not report the matand sex abuse. This comes after an NBC report alleges Spanier did not report alleged abuse because it would be humane to Sandusky to not report the matter.Read more...
June 6, 2012
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Jury selection ended on Wednesday in the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, setting the stage for arguments to begin next week in a case that rocked college athletics.
The seven women and five men on the jury will consider the charges against Sandusky - 52 counts of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has pleaded not guilty and faces more than 500 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors have accused Sandusky, 68, of meeting the boys through a charity he founded, the Second Mile, and have claimed that some of the assaults occurred at Penn State facilities.
"The trial in this case will start on Monday morning. We anticipate that it will take at most three weeks and be done by the last day of June," Judge John Cleland told jurors, according to a pool report by journalists covering the selection process.Read more...
By Chris Rosenblum, Anne Danahy and Mike Dawson — Centre Daily Times
May 20, 2012
Beth Docherty was in the ninth grade when her music teacher began sexually assaulting her.Three years before, the grooming had begun at the Pittsburgh area school. Her teacher, a family friend, eventually raped her.
"He was my idol," Docherty said.
More than a year later, she went to a Girl Scout leader, who called a crisis hotline and helped her tell her parents.
Then came her second assault.
Five other people came forward after she pressed charges, and Docherty found herself the first to testify at the teacher's trial.
For several hours on the stand she endured lawyers battering her integrity and character."It was horrific," she said. She was prepared for the defense to ask intimate questions. She just couldn't imagine being picked apart.
"I wasn't prepared for them trying to trick you," she said. "They would try to twist your words around."
Advocates and lawyers say Docherty's experience is common in sexual assault and abuse cases. They frequently see a double victimization: accusers put on trial themselves, their past and credibility attacked, to cast doubt on their testimony and sway juries.
In many cases, children may face the additional trauma of having to recall painful moments with defendants sitting nearby, causing stories to unravel.
The plight of alleged victims in the courtroom will take center stage next month, when the child sex abuse trial is scheduled to begin for ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. He is accused of molesting and assaulting 10 boys over a 12-year span.
His attorney, Joe Amendola, has requested school records, psychological evaluations and other personal information about the accusers, suggesting a defense strategy of discrediting them. A gag order on the case prevents Amendola from commenting.
"It's very hurtful to someone who has been the victim of sexual abuse as a child to be embarrassed and humiliated," said Richard Serbin, a Blair County civil attorney who has represented more than 100 victims of sexual abuse, including a 1994 case involving a Catholic priest. He spoke about the issue generally, and not in reference to the Sandusky case.
"Many victims spend years trying to overcome the hurt that has been caused to them," Serbin said. "And then when they seek justice, oftentimes they're surprised some of the techniques they're subjected to are allowed."
Badgering may make legal sense, according to one lawyer, but advocates say it skews trials in favor of defendants, especially after investigations with multiple interviews. Those can cause varying accounts — a prime opening for defense attorneys to exploit.
Clouding matters, Pennsylvania prosecutors can't have experts testify about how abuse victims respond.
"In many ways, the scales of justice are not as balanced as they could be because we're not educating the jury pool about the dynamics of sexual abuse," said Cathleen Palm, a child abuse survivor with Protect our Children Committee, a Pennsylvania advocacy group.
In the hot seat
Docherty still remembers the attorney's questions.
As she sat on the witness stand, they snapped at her like punches: "How could you have gotten good grades in school if this man was brutally raping you?"
"I knew what happened. I lived through it," Docherty said. "If he tried to twist my words around, I would correct him."Read more...
Sandusky federal investigation may have different focus
From Sara Ganim, for CNN
(CNN) -- It's fairly clear the federal investigation into Penn State University won't be a duplication of the grand jury probe that led to charges of more than 50 counts of child sex abuse against Jerry Sandusky.
Instead, federal authorities seem to be stepping into areas where the state attorney general's office hasn't gone.
This time, they seem to be exploring the possibility of a cover-up at Penn State, as well as possible bribes, fraud, or misuse of federal money, according to three former federal prosecutors asked to independently review the subpoena Penn State received February 2.
And on the case is one of the most experienced and respected assistant U.S. attorneys in the region, Gordon Zubrod.
The subpoena asks for:
-- payments made by university board members to third parties.
-- records of complaints, interviews or out-of-court settlements regarding Sandusky, a former coach at the university.
-- computer hard drives.
-- correspondence with Sandusky's children's charity, The Second Mile.Read more...
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