HARRISBURG, Pa. — It’s been five years since ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. His appeal is just one of many issues related to the scandal that are still working their way through the courts.
A look at some of the pending legal cases:
Sandusky, 73, is pursuing an appeal under the state’s Post Conviction Relief Act as he serves a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. After several court hearings in the matter, Sandusky’s lawyers are currently drafting proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. After that, state prosecutors will get a chance to respond. The judge in the case has indicated he plans to rule later this year.
His appeals lawyers say the central issues involve a claim that Sandusky did not get effective representation by his attorneys during the 2012 trial. They argue that prosecutors should have turned over information that some of Sandusky’s victims had changed their stories, and that grand jury leaks compromised the fairness of the proceedings.
They also say Sandusky should have been advised against giving an interview to NBC sportscaster Bob Costas shortly after his arrest.
Sandusky is seeking dismissal of charges, a longshot, or to be granted a new trial.
“We’re making some very serious allegations,” said his current lawyer, Al Lindsay. “We think we’re entitled to get one.”
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office says prosecutors believe Sandusky’s conviction will be upheld.
PENN STATE ADMINISTRATORS
Former president Graham Spanier was convicted by a jury in March of misdemeanor child endangerment for his failure to notify child-welfare authorities of a 2001 complaint about Sandusky apparently sexually abusing a boy in a campus shower. Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Sandusky was not arrested until a decade later, after authorities got an anonymous tip. At least four of Sandusky’s victims testified that they suffered abuse in the years after the shower incident.
All three former Penn State administrators are scheduled to report to county prison July 15 to serve two or three months.
Spanier, 68, earlier this month filed a motion seeking to have his conviction overturned or to get a new trial. His lawyers have argued the statute of limitations had expired, and are disputing that there is proof that his actions fit the crime for which he was found guilty. Prosecutors say they’re confident his conviction will be upheld. He’s facing two months in jail, followed by house arrest.
Curley, 63, has asked that his three-month jail sentence be revised so he will serve seven months of house arrest. Curley told the judge he has incurable lung cancer and liver damage.
Schultz, 67, has asked the judge to reconsider the portion of his sentence that calls for two months in jail, instead wanting to serve the sentence as six months of house arrest. He cited a family member’s health problems.
State prosecutors have deferred the house arrest decisions to the judge, who hasn’t ruled.
SPANIER V. PENN STATE, SPANIER V. FREEH
Spanier is pursuing a lawsuit against Penn State, where he still works, accusing it of violating an agreement made when he was forced out as president days after Sandusky’s arrest. He claims the school has not lived up to the terms of the agreement regarding office space, teaching options and legal fees, and has improperly made public statements critical of him.
Penn State’s countersuit alleges Spanier violated his employment agreement by not disclosing what he knew about Sandusky. Spanier is trying to get that claim dismissed.
Spanier also has a pending defamation lawsuit against former FBI director Louis Freeh, who led a team that produced a university-commissioned report into the Sandusky scandal in 2012 that was highly critical of Spanier. It seeks damages for reputational and economic harm he claims resulted from the report. In his defense, Freeh’s lawyers cited Spanier’s conviction in a new filing last month.
PATERNO FAMILY V. NCAA
A judge recently granted both sides permission to file under seal documents in a lawsuit by the family of Joe Paterno, who supervised Sandusky, against the NCAA. The lawsuit claims the NCAA damaged the Paterno estate’s commercial interests by its use of the Freeh report, which alleged Paterno and other administrators hushed up the 2001 complaint against Sandusky for fear of bad publicity.
The Paternos have said the coach did nothing wrong. His son Jay and a fellow former assistant football coach are also suing, claiming the Freeh report rendered them unable to find comparable work. Jay Paterno was recently elected by alumni to the Penn State board. Joe Paterno died in 2012, just months after he was fired, following Sandusky’s arrest.