Jerry Sandusky gets at least 30 years in prison, but case isn't closed yet (+video)
The former Penn State coach was sentenced Tuesday for child sexual abuse, but his lawyer says the conviction will be appealed. There is also the unresolved matter of civil lawsuits filed against Jerry Sandusky, his charitable foundation, and Penn State.
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Mr. Cohen says it would indeed be worrisome if all the victims had gotten together and compared notes. “Then you worry that collaboration distorts the truth,” he says. “But this seems like a thin thread to rely on” as the basis of an appeal.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Fallout from the Penn State scandal
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The state’s chief prosecutor in the case, Joe McGettigan, was not very sympathetic to Amendola’s claim. At the post-sentencing press conference, he said that if the defense attorney had spent less time talking to the media, he might have had more time to spend on preparing his case.
In a controversial decision by Sandusky's legal team, Sandusky in November 2011 did a phone interview with NBC’s Bob Costas for a show called “Rock Center.” Sandusky was prepping for an interview with prosecutors when Amendola suggested getting Mr. Costas on the phone. In the subsequent interview, Sandusky meandered and said he had helped many young boys. But in hindsight, he said, he regretted the showers with young boys and what he termed the “horseplay.”
The showers and the horseplay were part of the sad but compelling evidence in the trial. Even before the trial started, legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired over the scandal, and university president Graham Spanier resigned over his purported handling of allegations against Sandusky.
During Sandusky's trial, then-assistant-coach Mike McQueary said he told Paterno that he saw Sandusky in the shower with a young boy and heard a sickening slapping sound.
Amendola maintains that Mr. McQueary never indicated there was any sex in the event. McQueary is now suing Penn State, which fired him as well.
Penn State, in fact, had an institutional soul-searching time this summer after former FBI head Louis Freeh, hired by the university, found “the most powerful men at at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."
Now that Sandusky has been sentenced, lawyers for the victims are expected to pursue civil lawsuits seeking damage awards against Sandusky, the Second Mile Foundation founded by Sandusky, various insurance companies, and Penn State.
“Penn State has deeper pockets,” observes Cohen.
Three civil suits have already been filed. In September, Penn State hired Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the 9/11 victims fund, in an indication that it hopes to reach out-of-court settlements.
And, on Tuesday, prosecutors made no comment about whether they plan to bring additional charges against Sandusky. In the waning days of the trial, Matt Sandusky, an adopted son, has said he was abused, as well.
Sandusky himself would not be eligible for parole until he is 98. However, Amendola noted that the parole board does not usually grant parole on the first request.