A Penn State Attorney Who Reviewed The 1998 Police Report Against Jerry Sandusky Also Represented The Second Mile

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In 1998, Victim No. 6 told his mother he had showered with Jerry Sandusky. She called Penn State University police, who interviewed both the boy and Sandusky and prepared a report containing details of inappropriate conduct. PSU's outside general counsel, Wendell Courtney, reviewed that police report on behalf of the school before submitting it to the Centre Country District Attorney. Courtney, who knew what Jerry Sandusky was alleged to have done—and admitted to—continued to represent The Second Mile for another 13 years.


It's not unusual for lawyers to take multiple jobs. But for Wendell Courtney, whose online profile for State College-based McQuaide Blasco states he was "Primary Counsel to The Pennsylvania State University" as well as "Pro Bono Counsel, The Second Mile," it's an extraordinary conflict of emotion, if not of interest. Courtney remained counsel for PSU until last year (he can be seen in this photo bicycling to the Penn State/Wisconsin football game in 2007, along with former University President Graham Spanier) until he was replaced in January 2010 when the school appointed its first fulltime in-house counsel. He continued to represent The Second Mile until this past Monday, when he withdrew as the scandal blew up.

There's nothing professionally wrong with representing a nonprofit organization for kids headed by a man who was accused of but not charged with abusing a child. But it doesn't look good, and Courtney knew that when he tried to deny his association with The Second Mile. This week, in response to his inclusion in the grand jury presentment, Courtney claimed he had only begun his work for The Second Mile in 2009, instead of prior to 1998. Today the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office rebutted that claim.

"It's clear from the findings of the grand jury that Mr. Courtney had direct dealings with both Penn State and The Second Mile and he had knowledge and was aware of the 1998 incident," said Nils Fredericksen, a spokesman for the AG. "The grand jury findings are based on evidence and testimony. There's no dispute he had interaction with both [Penn State and The Second Mile]."