Since Jerry Sandusky was first charged as a serial child molester last November, the prosecution has claimed that the identity of two of his victims was unknown. That claim was even repeated by prosecutor Joseph McGettigan during last week's sentencing hearing. But according to Sara Ganim of the Patriot-News of Harrisburg (Pa.), Victim 2's identity has been known since
before just after Sandusky's arrest.
Victim 2 has been a key figure in the Sandusky case—the unidentified boy former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary said he had seen Sandusky touching in a PSU football building shower back in 2001. As a result of McQueary's testimony, the grand jury presentment accused Sandusky of raping the boy, Joe Paterno was fired, two Penn State administrators (Tim Curley and Gary Schultz) were charged with perjury and failure to report abuse, and former FBI director Louis Freeh's private investigation accused several top Penn State officials (including Paterno) of orchestrating a coverup.
Sandusky's attorney, Lawyerin' Joe Amendola, said a few weeks after the arrest that the defense knew Victim 2's identity, and that his story wouldn't match McQueary's. At the time, Amendola's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Victim 2's lawyer, and nothing more was heard about who Victim 2 was until late July, when a man came forward claiming to be the victim. According to a statement Victim 2 had given investigators before Sandusky was arrested, Victim 2 indeed said that he had not been abused by Sandusky on the night McQueary saw the two of them together. A source has confirmed to me that such a statement in fact exists.
So why wasn't Victim 2 called to testify in Sandusky's defense? Here's Ganim:
That's because he now says he was abused for several years, both before and after the 2001 incident, and if the right thing had been done by officials in 2001, his abuse might have stopped.
Judge John Cleland, who oversaw Sandusky's trial, put a gag order on the defense, preventing them from talking about evidence that wasn't presented at trial.
So they are limited to what they can say about Victim 2.
But Karl Rominger [Sandusky's other lawyer] will say this:
"(Prosecutors) didn't call him to the stand because he would have proven our pattern, which is: Not a victim, not a victim, not a victim. Got a plaintiff attorney and suddenly remember being a victim," Rominger said. "We believe that he was credible when he gave a statement to our investigator that nothing happened."
Rominger said that he and Joe Amendola decided not to call the man to the stand at trial because it was too risky.
Prosecutors, he theorized, probably felt the same way. "From prosecution standpoint that's too risky as well," he said.
So what impact could Victim 2's statement have at the upcoming trials of Curley and Schultz, the two PSU administrators who still face charges? Curley and Schultz have maintained they didn't think what McQueary told them amounted to a crime, never mind that both Paterno and Schultz told the grand jury they understood Sandusky's conduct to be "sexual."
Ganim ran all this by Walter Cohen, a former state attorney general who has kept a close eye on the case:
"What McQueary saw or what happened isn't factually at issue at that trial," he said. "It's what did McQueary tell (the men)."
Under oath, McQueary has maintained that while he stopped short of using the words "anal" or "rape" in his conversations with Paterno, Curley, and Schultz just after the incident, he insists he saw what looked like "intercourse" and that he conveyed to all three men he understood the situation to be "extremely sexual." Based solely on McQueary's testimony, Sandusky was found guilty on four charges involving Victim 2, though he was acquitted of raping him.
So the defense could try to put this man who claims he is Victim 2 on the stand, but "the judge could just decide there is no proof he is Victim 2 and he would have no reason to testify," Cohen said.
Bottom line: "It could have an impact, but that doesn't mean that whatever he says or doesn't say would be fatal to the case."
Update (5:31 p.m.): The headline on this story has been changed for clarity.