Sandusky defense questions victims’ credibility in hopes for new trial

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse in 2012, due in part to a man who says Sandusky sexually abused him in a locker room shower more than 15 years ago.

However, that man, more commonly known as Victim 2, was not credible, according to case investigators testifying Monday at the Centre County Courthouse.

Sandusky is attempting to get a new trial following his conviction more than four years ago. His attorney, Al Lindsay, is arguing Sandusky had an inadequate defense team for the June 2012 trial. He also claims some of the victims contradicted themselves when they spoke with investigators in 2011.

Specifically, Lindsay is questioning statements by Victim 2, who claimed he was the boy then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw being abused by Sandusky in a Lasch Hall shower. Victim 2, however, never testified during the trial, after giving opposing statements to police and then Sandusky's attorneys.

"[Victim 2] was not credible," said lead investigator Anthony Sassano, remembering a conversation he had with fellow investigators in 2011. "There had been multiple version's of what [Victim 2] had reported. Two negative occurring and one instance where something occurred. It was very generic. There were no details."

However, attempts to find Victim 2 to have him testify under oath have been unsuccessful, because, as Lindsay said after Monday's hearing, "We cannot find where he is."

Victim 2 originally told investigators and Sandusky's defense team, then led by Joe Amendola, that while he had showered with Sandusky, "nothing inappropriate" occurred, according to retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Joseph Leiter. However, that story changed a few months later after Victim 2 hired civil rights and criminal defense attorney Andrew Shubin.

"We have a lot of big issues and we think they entitle Mr. Sandusky to have a new trial or a dismissal," Lindsay said following Tuesday's hearing.

Sandusky was ultimately found not guilty of sexually assaulting Victim 2, although the 45 counts of child sex abuse a jury did find him guilty on has him spending 30-to-60 years in prison.

Kristen Houser, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, argues the victims whose credibility is being called into question have been through enough scrutiny since Sandusky was arrested in November 2011.

"I don't think people realize how difficult it is for adult survivors, especially those abused by another man, to be honest about everything that happened," she said. "Sometimes, acknowledging the abuse is a very personal and painful thing to recognize to yourself first, and then to tell the rest of the world about it ... is a terrifying thing to think about."

Judge John Cleland, who oversaw Sandusky's conviction in 2012, granted his defense team three days to plead their case for a new trial. Tuesday is the hearing's final day, with testimony expected from prosecutors Joe McGettigan and Frank Fina.