The formerly unidentified victim who Mike McQueary said he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky rape in a Penn State locker room shower in 2001, long referred to in court filings only as “Victim 2,” has come forward with plans to sue the university, his attorneys announced Thursday.
The attorneys, Matthew Casey and Joel Feller of Ross Feller Casey, said in a statement Thursday that Sandusky abused their client extensively and over many years both before and after McQueary witnessed the notorious shower incident in 2001.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News first reported that Victim 2 identified himself to attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, who are working with Feller and Casey.
Calling the abuse Victim 2 suffered a “direct result of a conspiracy to conceal Sandusky’s conduct” by Penn State officials, the attorneys said they plan to a file a civil lawsuit against Penn State and other parties.
“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,” the statement said.
Sandusky also appeared to be reaching out to Victim 2, now in his 20s, as recently as September of last year, just weeks before he was arrested on 40 counts of sex abuse.
For many observers, the story of Victim 2 was the most damning account in the 28-page grand jury presentment prosecutors released in November upon Sandusky’s arrest.
The law firm released two voicemails Thursday from Sept. 12, 2011, and Sept. 16, 2011, that the attorneys allege Sandusky left for their client while an indictment became increasingly apparent to the former defensive coordinator.
In one message, over hems and haws, Sandusky reportedly said he “would be very firm and express [his] feelings” and that “there is nothing really to hide.”
Four days later, he reportedly called back to invite Victim 2 to a Penn State football game.
Both messages, which can be heard at www.RossFellerCasey.com, close with Sandusky apparently telling the victim he loves him.
Until now, the entire account of Victim 2′s abuse has come from McQueary, the former graduate assistant who has testified twice in open court about what he saw in the Lasch Building shower in 2001. McQueary’s story took greater detail during more than two hours on the stand at Sandusky’s trial last month, where court observers dubbed the former Penn State quarterback a star witness.
Heading into the trial, however, McQueary’s story came under scrutiny. Up until a few weeks before the trial, prosecutors said the McQueary incident happened in 2002, as opposed to the year before. Meanwhile, several press reports indicated that Sandusky’s defense had identified a man who they said claimed he fit the description of McQueary’s account.
That man’s claims came with two exceptions: nothing sexual had happened between him and Sandusky in that shower, and the man’s recollection was that it took place in 2001. He was billed as a possible defense witness.
Then, prosecutors amended the year in which McQueary witnessed the attack to 2001, but the man was never called to testify by Sandusky’s defense.
The Patriot-News reported that Shubin and Andronici, both of State College, have been in contact with Victim 2 since late last year. It was unclear why the man did not testify at Sandusky’s trial, and his four attorneys have declined to comment beyond their statement.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts last month, including four counts relating to Victim 2. The jury acquitted him of one rape charge in the case of Victim 2.
The acknowledgement of Victim 2 and his plans for a lawsuit only adds to a legal terrain on which Penn State, according to legal observers, has only one sensible out: settle every claim.
Philadelphia plaintiffs attorney Thomas R. Kline, who represents the man known as Victim 5, said Penn State had already been put on notice when McQueary told high-ranking officials about the shower attack, making their response to McQueary’s allegations, as Kline put it, “downright disregard for the safety of children who were known to be at risk by Sandusky.”
“There is no defense to the conduct of Penn State as it pertains to that time frame,” Kline said, referring to the period after 2001.
An internal investigation released this month stated that former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, former president Graham Spanier and two other high-ranking administrators all knew about a 1998 investigation into Sandusky that eventually resulted in no charges being brought.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz face charges for failure to report child abuse and perjury related to McQueary’s story. They both await trial and maintain their innocence.
James C. Haggerty, a veteran defense litigator who recently switched to the plaintiffs bar, said an impending lawsuit from Victim 2 “turns up the heat even more to deal with these situations as quickly as possible” for Penn State.
He noted the case, aside from the gruesome allegations, now appears to have a victim and an eyewitness to present corroborating testimony. Lack of corroboration had been a defense sticking point in the prosecutions of Sandusky, Schultz and Curley.