A man who claims he was the young sexual-assault victim seen with former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in a campus shower 15 years ago, a central episode in the molestation scandal that rocked the university, testified in the case for the first time on Friday and insisted Sandusky had abused him.
The 29-year-old man was called to the witness stand in Sandusky’s appeal of his conviction, and an attorney for Sandusky confronted him with a 2011 statement in which he told police he hadn’t been abused.
“That would reflect what I said then. Not what I would say now,” the man said, according to Pennlive.com.
Sandusky, called to the stand in his own defense, was asked if he’d ever abused the man and declared, “Absolutely not.”
Lawyers for the man say he is the person identified during the 2012 Sandusky trial as Victim 2, the young boy assistant coach Mike McQueary has said he witnessed being sexually abused by Sandusky in 2001.
But the lead prosecutor at Sandusky’s criminal trial, now in private practice, has testified he doesn’t believe the man is the person McQueary saw.
Sandusky’s lawyers argue he didn’t get a fair trial in part because his legal team at the time mishandled the issue of Victim 2’s identity and didn’t call him to the stand.
Sandusky was a retired coach with gym privileges at the time McQueary says he saw the shower assault. He was convicted on charges of abusing 10 boys, including Victim 2, but maintains his innocence.
Though the man who claims he was Victim 2 didn’t testify at Sandusky’s trial, he later won a civil settlement from the university.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they’re the victims of sexual assault, and in this case a victim advocate has said the man has asked not to be identified.
McQueary reported what he saw in the shower to then-head coach Joe Paterno, who alerted the athletic director and a vice president. But Sandusky wasn’t arrested until a decade later, after prosecutors got an anonymous tip that led them to McQueary, leading to accusations of a high-level cover-up. University trustees later cited Paterno’s handling of the complaint as one of the reasons he was fired in 2011; he died months later.
The former prosecutor in the Sandusky case, Joe McGettigan, said he doubts the man is Victim 2 because his accounts have changed, he appears too old to have been the boy in the shower and he didn’t provide certain details to investigators until after McQueary had told his story in open court.
Sandusky’s lawyers have argued McGettigan was referring to the man who says he was Victim 2 and therefore lied to jurors when he said during the closing argument that Sandusky’s victims included “others presently known to God but not to us.”
The man who says he is Victim 2 told police in September 2011 that no abuse had occurred and said much the same to an investigator working for Sandusky’s lawyers around that time. He subsequently hired a lawyer and changed his story, saying he had been sexually abused.
Neither he nor Penn State has described the claim he made against the university that won him a settlement.
Sandusky, who’s serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years, is seeking to get his conviction overturned or a new trial.