By John P. Martin
Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer on Thursday dismissed as “completely unfounded” suggestions that the former football coach may consider pleading guilty to charges that he molested at least eight boys.
“Jerry and I have had no discussions about any sort of deal in his case,” Joseph Amendola said. “He has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so as we prepare for his preliminary hearing.”
Amendola issued the statement after the Harrisburg Patriot-News quoted him saying that Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator at Pennsylvania State University, might consider a plea deal “if more allegations come forth and Jerry gets to the point where he realizes fighting against more than the original allegations might be a real uphill battle.”
Amendola said his remarks were in response to a hypothetical question as to how his legal strategy might change if 15 or 20 more accusers came forward.
“My answer to the ‘what-if’ question was analogous to saying, if weather forecasters were predicting a blizzard next week, which they are not, I would have to at least consider the possibility of postponing my scheduled trip to Philadelphia,” Amendola said. “Of course, I’d have to reconsider the trip under those circumstances, just as I would have to discuss with Jerry all the possible alternatives in his case if the (Attorney General’s Office) were to file additional charges.”
Prosecutors have not added charges or confirmed the existence of more alleged victims since Sandusky’s Nov. 5 arrest. But lawyers and others familiar with the investigation say reports about the case have spurred more accusers to come forward.
One is a 29-year-old man in Philadelphia who on Wednesday filed the first lawsuit against Sandusky, Penn State, and the Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity for underprivileged boys, where prosecutors say he targeted several of his alleged victims.
That plaintiff, identified in court papers as John Doe A, said the former coach molested him more than 100 times between 1992 and 1996. His lawyer, Jeff Anderson, said the man reported the allegations to law enforcement authorities this week.
Attorneys from at least three other firms claim to be representing potential victims of Sandusky. They include Philadelphia-area lawyers Mark J. Boni and Slade H. McLaughlin; State College lawyer Andrew Shubin; and Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi.
On Thursday, Andreozzi said he had reached a settlement with the Second Mile that would prevent it from selling assets or closing without a court order and notifying potential victims.
The Second Mile confirmed the settlement, noting that it didn’t include any findings of liabilities. In a statement, the foundation also said it was continuing to operate all of its programs.
“This settlement will preserve the assets of the Second Mile and allow these victims to have a voice before any assets are transferred,” Andreozzi said.
He said he and lawyer Jeffrey Fritz planned to file a lawsuit for at least two potential victims.
Also Thursday, Penn State announced it would donate $1.5 million for a partnership with two organizations that run sex-assault prevention and response programs.