Lawyers: Sandusky shower victim found, plans lawsuit

Posted: July 27, 2012

A man who says he was the unidentified victim in the now-infamous 2001 shower-room assault by Jerry Sandusky announced plans Thursday to sue the university.

If true, his claims could solve one of the key mysteries in the case that has shaken Pennsylvania State University to its core.

The identity of the accuser, known in court filings as Victim 2, was unknown even to the prosecutors trying Sandusky's case.

His assault more than a decade ago, witnessed by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, is the central incident tying Sandusky's crimes to an alleged cover-up by Penn State administrators.

It also led to the firing last year of football coach Joe Paterno and the resignation of president Graham B. Spanier for their failure to do more to respond to the claims.

In a statement Thursday, a group of lawyers who now represent the man said they had conducted an extensive investigation to verify his story and had turned up "overwhelming evidence" that Sandusky abused their client over a period of years.

But they refused to answer questions that might help corroborate their client's claims that he was the boy McQueary saw in a football locker-room shower. As of late Thursday, they had not filed their suit.

"Our client has to live the rest of his life not only dealing with the effects of Sandusky's childhood sexual abuse, but also with the knowledge that many powerful adults, including those at the highest levels of Penn State, put their own interests and the interests of a child predator above their legal obligations to protect him," said the legal team, which includes Philadelphia attorneys Joel Feller and Matt Casey as well as State College lawyers Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici.

The group also represents three other Sandusky accusers and one of Sandusky's adopted children, who announced during his father's trial that he, too, had been abused.

In addition to their statement Thursday, the lawyers released two voice-mail messages they say were left by Sandusky on their new client's phone number two months before the former assistant football coach was arrested on child sex-abuse charges last year.

The messages, dated Sept. 12 and 19, have a male voice that sounds like Sandusky's. The caller signs off by saying "Love you" Sept. 12 and "I love you" Sept. 19. In the second message, the caller asks the recipient to come to a Penn State football game.

The attorneys said Sandusky left several messages for their client before his arrest.

"He was attempting to exert control over our client even as his arrest for child sexual abuse became imminent," they said.

State prosecutors would not confirm whether they had spoken to the client.

"Given the ongoing nature of our criminal prosecutions and investigation, we cannot comment," said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.

Sandusky was convicted last month of abusing 10 boys he met through a charity he founded for underprivileged youth. But from the start, the story of Victim 2 came to epitomize the allegations against him.

McQueary testified last month that he walked in on Sandusky abusing the boy - who appeared to be about 10 - late one evening in February 2001.

"It was sexual. It was wrong. It was perverse," McQueary told jurors in Sandusky's trial last month. "Both of them saw me. I got a good look into both of their eyes."

Though McQueary said he later reported the incident to Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz, a vice president in charge of campus police, neither he nor any of the administrators ever made any effort to determine the boy's identity at the time.

A report authored by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and released this month showed that Curley, Schultz, and Spanier debated whether to report the incident to outside authorities at the time but decided against it.

Last year, Penn State's trustees cited that handling of the case in their decision to fire Paterno and ask for Spanier's resignation. Curley and Schultz face charges of perjury and failure to report child abuse, though both maintain that McQueary never made clear to them that the incident amounted to anything more than "horseplay."

But days after Paterno's firing, Sandusky attorney Joseph Amendola said he had spoken to a man he believed to be Victim 2. At the time, the defense lawyer maintained that the man, now 20, told him that he had never been abused by Sandusky and that McQueary had misunderstood what he saw.

The man was even willing to testify for the defense, Amendola said in a November interview.

"This kid is convinced he's the kid [in question] and he's telling me there was no sex," he said.

Asked last month why that man never took the stand during his client's trial, Amendola said that weeks after those initial statements, the man had hired a defense lawyer and stopped communicating with Sandusky's defense team.

It remains unclear whether the man who came forward Thursday is the man with whom Amendola was spoke last year. Amendola did not return calls for comment Thursday, and the legal team representing the man claiming to be Victim 2 refused to answer questions about their client.

"Penn State has now admitted there is no longer any question that its top officials could have and should have prevented these acts," the lawyers said. "Jerry Sandusky's abuse of Victim 2 and other children is a direct result of a conspiracy to conceal Sandusky's conduct and the decisions by top Penn State officials that facilitated and enabled his access to victims."


Contact Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, jroebuck@phillynews.com, or @jeremyrroebuck on Twitter.

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