By John Rawlins
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WPVI) -- In a ruling that surprised some observers, a Pennsylvania judge Thursday ordered the state's attorney general to turn over information relating to alleged grand jury leaks in the child sex-abuse case against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
The decision by Judge John Cleland, who presided over Sandusky's trial back in 2012, came during a 45-minute hearing Thursday morning at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Sandusky, who is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison, arrived for the hearing shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday. It was held at the same courthouse where he was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Shortly before Sandusky arrived, his wife, Dotty, his staunchest supporter, quietly entered the courthouse.
Sandusky was back in court with his new appeals attorney, Alexander Lindsay. Sandusky and his lawyer made wide-ranging requests of Judge Cleland.
Among Sandusky's claims: that his trial attorneys failed to do their job by not demanding a new trial when a prosecutor made what Lindsay describes as a blatantly false statement during his summation.
Sandusky also asked to the court to issue numerous subpoenas in order to question officials about grand jury leaks. Sandusky's filing with the court describes those leaks as malicious.
The office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane argued Sandusky is not entitled to what he is demanding, saying, "it should be remembered that Sandusky no longer enjoys the benefit of the presumption of innocence."
But in surprise development at Thursday's hearing, Judge Cleland granted Sandusky's request.
He is requiring Kane's office to provide the court with information about the alleged grand jury leaks by next week.
Sandusky's current appeal is being made under Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act, which is narrower than a previous round of appeals that he lost.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Some people think so, and they make a pretty interesting case. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this article and present it here verbatim. This is from the blog framingPaterno.com:
While it has been extremely politically incorrect and, frankly, toxic to do so, there are, contrary to the media’s narrative in the Sandusky case, very valid reasons to question the stories of the accusers. The fact that this has not come even close to happening is a large part of why it is that I think it is very possible that this entire scandal has been based on a false premise. It was this premise which never got anything close to the extensive examination which this case, so influenced by a crazed rush to judgment, deserved and required.
To be clear, my theory behind this “rush to judgment” scenario is not that of a conspiracy or based in most of the accusers even thinking that they were doing anything horribly “wrong.” Rather it is my belief that most figured that not everything they had been told by others they trusted (and were hearing in the media) could be inaccurate and that they simply rationalized their exaggerations/fabrications with the belief that they were helping to bring a bad man to justice.
Others, like Matt Sandusky, were likely simply motivated by the huge sums of cash which were obviously coming their way the moment that Joe Paterno was fired (it should be noted that under this theory those who never came up at trial are irrelevant because even the prosecution didn't see them as worthy of mention and they were all paid large sums of money without ever testifying).
Here are the very basic reasons why each of the “victims” involved with the trial should not have been believed as blindly and universally as they were, without even the slightest hint of scrutiny.
Victim #1 (Aaron Fisher):
He denied abuse several times, including under oath in the grand jury.
Falsely claimed to be accosted (not by Sandusky) in school bathroom. His penchant for telling false stories was part of why his high school did not initially believe the Sandusky allegations.
Gave four, at least partially contradictory, timelines for his abuse by Sandusky.
Failed to fully detail his abuse in two grand jury appearances and eventually threatened to quit the case. This was the real reason why the grand jury investigation never went anywhere until Mike McQueary came along.
Finally had to read his story of abuse, with his therapist there, in his third time before the grand jury.
Testimony at trial claimed his bed-wetting occurred because of Sandusky, but I was told by two members of a family of a friend that he wet their beds on sleepovers long before he ever met Sandusky.
Falsely implied that Sandusky sabotaged his car, or maybe was chasing after him, causing an accident (determined to be his fault) which almost killed two people.
Has reportedly still has never told his mother what actually happened to him.
Wrote a book with his therapist who was instrumental in nurturing the stories of his abuse, seemingly through discredited "repressed memory therapy.".
Pursued money from Penn State who he specifically said he doesn’t blame for his abuse.
A neighbor testified that the family's first reaction to the allegations was in the context of how much money they were going to make from them.
Told ABC 20/20 that hearing Sandusky publicly imply he was lying made him “feel like crap,” which seems inconsistent with him having been abused (wouldn’t it only make him feel like "crap," as opposed to angered, if he was being called out on what he knew to be lies?).
His former stepfather, against whom his mother got a restraining order and was originally glad Sandusky came along to take Aaron away from, has been recently charged with dozens of counts of child molestation, apparently against his own offspring.
I spoke with two of his close friends who said they have very serious doubts about whether Aaron is telling the truth about Sandusky and that others who know him well also have real doubts.
Victim #2 (McQueary “Victim”):
He wrote letters to the editor and the attorney general defending Sandusky after news of the grand jury investigation broke.
Gave an interview to police before the arrest (where he felt they were trying to get him to lie), which ended with him saying “You will never get me to say anything bad about Jerry Sandusky.”
Gave statement to defense investigator on day Joe Paterno was fired saying that Mike McQueary was not telling the truth and he was not abused that night.
Was represented by same lawyer (Andrew Shubin) for whom his mother once worked, who represented him in a DUI before he became a “victim,” and who represented eight other “victims,” including Matt Sandusky.
Never testified, partly because the prosecution didn’t like his story.
Despite numerous opportunities, neither he nor his lawyers have ever publicly contradicted the statement he gave about the night in question.
Quickly accepted a settlement with Penn State, which appears to be totally incompatible with claiming abuse in the incident for which Penn State would have by far the most culpability/financial vulnerability.
Has never given an interview after his settlement, has apparently not written a book, and has not responded to repeated efforts by me and some others to get him to set the record straight.
He told police nothing inappropriate ever happened with Sandusky.
His story changed to claim mild abuse after he got a lawyer (Andrew Shubin).
Testified that he was upset that Sandusky did not adopt him.
Testified that he changed his mind about what happened because “everything that’s coming out now is because I thought about it more.”
Posted a public photo on Facebook in a Penn State jersey with his arm around Jay Paterno just months after taking his settlement from Penn State.
He told me in a Facebook message that he lies on his Facebook page that he is a “professional gambler” so that people will not question why he now has money.
He originally said nothing inappropriate happened, but lawyered up after the Sara Ganim article came out disclosing the grand jury investigation.
There is an audio tape (accidentally recorded) of his own lawyer “conspiring” with investigators to lie to get him to finally claim a sex act against Sandusky.
Based on his testimony Sandusky would have missed football practices while still at Penn State.
His testimony is directly contradicted by that of Dottie Sandusky regarding an alleged sexual episode at a bowl game.
He testified that his own mother didn’t believe him on some things because he was a known liar.
In 2010, he took his girlfriend and three-year old son to see Sandusky. I spoke to someone who was there who said Victim #4 acted as if he was Jerry’s son.
It seems clear that his view of Sandusky was dramatically altered by being told (by investigators and media reports) that Jerry was a monster who had abused many others, including his friends.
He claims a story totally different than almost all of the other victims because Sandusky became overtly “sexual” the very first and only time they worked out/showered together.
His claim about the date and location of the event changed VERY dramatically from 1998 (when he would have been by far the youngest victim), to after the McQueary episode in 2001 (though his testimony somehow directly refers to 2002), even though Sandusky did not have access to the Penn State showers at that time.
He never claimed anything close to a sexual act and the 1998 incident was fully investigated and determined to be "unfounded."
Maintained a very close relationship with Sandusky (with his mother’s knowledge/acceptance) for 13 years after the 1998 episode without any allegation of further abuse.
Admitted at trial that, like so many others in this case, his view of Jerry and what happened to him was dramatically altered after speaking to investigators and hearing media reports.
The prosecution stipulated at trial that reporter Sara Ganim contacted his mother and told her that they needed to find more victims or the case was going to die and offered to put her in touch with an investigator. Three other victims are pictured in Sandusky’s book along with their friend, Victim 6.
His mother (whom Jerry considered to be crazy and out for money) sent two daughters (including a bikini model) to Penn State well after the initial allegation against Sandusky.
I have spoken at length with the bikini model’s ex-boyfriend (who has gotten a restraining order against her and vice versa) and he is very much of the belief that the family saw this case as nothing more than a meal ticket.
He testified to the grand jury that no overt sexual abuse/touching ever took place.
Changed his story after getting a lawyer (surprise! Andrew Shubin). Explained his changed testimony at trial by very clearly claiming debunked "repressed memory therapy" saying: “that testimony is what I had recalled at that time. Through-again through counseling, through talking about things, I have remembered a great deal more things that I blocked out. And at that time, that was, yes, that’s what I thought but at this time that has changed.”
In 2004, after his alleged abuse, he wrote in his own handwriting on an application for a scholarship, “Jerry Sandusky, he has helped me understand so much about myself. He is such a kind and caring gentleman and I will never forget him.”
This is not a known person. No one has ever claimed to be Victim 8 despite the massive amount of money it would be worth to that person and the unprecedented publicity that this incident received.
The only direct witness to this episode has dementia and did not testify. The jury was told about it via hearsay testimony.
There was no remotely contemporaneous report of this incident and there is no exact date given for it. The dates which were given don't seem to match with the testimony because they aren't consistent with Penn State's football schedule that.
He was added to the case after Sandusky was arrested (and the world changed).
His claims are completely different than any other victim and are far more horrific based on his description of them.
Dottie Sandusky has to be lying for his story of abuse in the basement to be remotely plausible.
He is the only accuser to claim the sex act which the prosecution wrongly claimed in the grand jury presentment (which came out before he was a "victim") that Mike McQueary had witnessed.
He never took the physical exam, which based on the frequency of his abuse, would have almost certainly proven/disproven his claims.
His timeline, which changed dramatically at trial, would have made it impossible for Sandusky to have enough time to both coach at Central Mountain High School and to have spent as much time during the same period as he did with Aaron Fisher, though, incredibly, neither one ever even met the other.
In his lawsuit against Penn State he now absurdly claims that he, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno all had lunch together and met several times, even implying that Paterno knew what Sandusky was up to with him.
He was widely considered by trial watchers to have been the least credible of the accusers who testified.
Was added to the case after Sandusky was arrested after calling the hotline number and only claiming having been groped in a pool.
He came to his allegation after speaking with his friend, Victim #3.
He was twice incarcerated for burglary and assault.
His timeline would also have required Sandusky to miss significant practice time at Penn State, for which there is no evidence whatsoever. It also appears to overlap the story of Victim 4.
He claimed to have been abused in a silver convertible, which does not exist in this case.
He claims to have met Dottie Sandusky but she does not know who this person is.
Contradicted himself at trial with regard to Sandusky’s demeanor when he refused to give in to Sandusky’s sexual demands.
He testified at the grand jury that he was not abused and that he didn’t believe the accusers. He even wanted to hold a press conference to express outrage, but was dissuaded by his attorney from doing so at the last minute.
After Jerry was arrested he went to court for the right to have his children continue to see Jerry.
Never testified that he was abused, but was used as an extremely risky ploy by the prosecution to scare the defense team into not putting Sandusky on the stand, which worked after a tape of him claiming abuse was mysteriously leaked to NBC.
He sat with the defense supporters on the first day of the trial and came home and told the whole family “I could get up on the stand and lie just like that.”
Found his rather mild (and never escalating over seven years) abuse through debunked "repressed memory therapy" right in the middle of the trial.
Has (surprise!) the same Andrew Shubin as his attorney.
Jerry told him just days before the trial that Victim 2 had “flipped” and says that, in hindsight, this was when Matt started to think about doing the same (of course it makes absolutely no sense for Jerry to tell him this if he had really abused Matt).
According to what police told Dottie (and what the entire family accepts as fact), he sold Jerry’s two national championship rings, which were not given to him.
His therapist told Jerry and Dottie that Matt had “no conscience.”
He demanded that another adopted son of Sandusky join him in becoming a victim, but he refused, telling him that it wasn’t true.
He begged Jerry and Dottie to adopt him at the age of 18, well after he says his abuse ended.
He claims that Jerry “transitioned” from abusing him to abusing Victim 4, but there are at least four years from the time Matt says his abuse ended and the time when Jerry met Victim 4.
So, there you have it! I am not anywhere close to being convinced of Sandusky's innocence, although my faith in the American justice system has been shaken somewhat by the arguments presented above. If accurate, they suggest that there would have been no case whatsoever had a certain lawyer not gotten involved and began recruiting victims with the suggestion that they could end up with a lot of money for their testimony.
One might expect this kind of unethical behaviour in third world countries as with parents in Indonesia attempting to extort money from Jakarta International School by claiming their children were sexually molested - a micro industry in some southeast Asian countries. But in America?
Victims who are 'recruited' by lawyers should be held to a higher level of scrutiny than those who come forward on their own. There should need to be some reasonable corroboration of their stories otherwise they should be taken with considerable skepticism.
Again, I have serious doubts about Sandusky's innocence, but I also have serious doubts that he got a fair trial. What do you think?