Accused Penn State molester Jerry Sandusky claims that the boy known as Victim 1 accused the coach of sexual abuse in retaliation against a tough mentor and then exaggerated his claims after being "pampered" by prosecutors, Sandusky's attorney said today.
Lawyer Joe Amendola told ABC News that Victim 1, one of the main accusers in the 23-page grand jury report against Sandusky, reacted against Sandusky's demands that the boy work harder to achieve his goals.
"When you push and they don't want you to," Amendola said, "they react. And what Jerry believes happened is that this young guy got tired of Jerry pushing. Jerry believes that what happened was this young guy said, you know what, gee, if I say Jerry did something to me, that's the end of my relationship with Jerry."
Amendola alleges the victim has changed and embellished his story in response to the attention he received from prosecutors.
"Because people when they're brought into the criminal justice system and they're labeled as victims, they're pampered, they're encouraged, they're treated specially. And particularly when you're dealing with maybe someone who hasn't had a great, the greatest of lives. Then a lot of times they start feeling more important," the lawyer said.
Amendola also said that Victim 1's claim to have been repeatedly assaulted in Sandusky's home isn't plausible.
"Jerry tells me his house was like a hotel, particularly on football weekends, which is when this young guy... says that he was at Jerry's house," Amendola said. "The house was filled with people. At any given time, probably when this activity was allegedly going on, there might have been 25 to 50 people at Jerry's house."
Amendola's comments are part of his campaign to get Sandusky's side of the story into the public. Sandusky was released earlier this month on $100,000 unsecured bond after he turned himself in on 40 counts of child molestation. A 23-page grand jury presentment incited widespread anger in its graphic portrayal of Sandusky preying on young boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile.
"At this point, I don't think people in general would even be willing to give Jerry a fair trial. They'd just say let's hang him," Amendola said. "What we hope to achieve is through getting information out about Jerry and about our side of this case is to.... get people to thinking there are two sides to this case."
The public anger toward his client could be dangerous if new allegations of sexual abuse come forward and Sandusky is up for a new bail sentencing, he said.
"My concern is if they bring new charges based upon new people coming forth, that bail's going to be set, and he's going to wind up in jail," Amendola said.
The judge who let Sandusky go free with unsecured bail was removed from the case after it was discovered she volunteered for the Second Mile. A new judge from a neighboring county has been appointed to hear future arguments.
Amendola is asking children who have been helped by Sandusky to come forward and tell their stories in public, showing that Sandusky was affectionate with many children without any intent of sexual misconduct. The lawyer, who has represented Sandusky since the beginning of the investigation three years ago, also said he will try and show the holes in the stories of witness Mike McQueary and two victims who have said they will testify against him in court.
Amendola criticized McQueary, whose account of witnessing an alleged rape by Sandusky of a 10-year-old boy in Penn State campus showers has been a critical part of the investigation against him. Amendola pointed out discrepancies between what McQueary told a grand jury and what he told friends about the incident recently, and maintains that he has spoken with the alleged victim who denies the assault occurred.
"(It also) defies absolute logic that that someone could see something that horrific, that god awful, and not one, do anything about it, and number two, continue to interface with the person that he saw doing it," Amendola said, referring to McQueary's ongoing working relationship with Sandusky for years after the alleged incident.
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McQueary participated in at least five charity events with Sandusky in the years after the alleged rape and, according to Amendola and Sandusky, saw Sandusky three times a week on the practice field of the football stadium.
"Shook hands with him. Raised money. Helped raise money for troubled kids who now (he) says he saw Jerry abusing in a terrible, terrible way. It just defies explanation," Amendola said.
Amendola also rebuked widespread criticism of Sandusky's answers to NBC when asked if he was a pedophile. Sandusky took long pauses and repeated the question back to Costas before answering, "I enjoy kids. I enjoy being around kids, but no. I'm not attracted to them sexually."
Critics railed that Sandusky's pause was telling of his guilt, but Amendola said that Sandusky is merely a thoughtful speaker, who repeats questions and takes pauses during long, discursive answers in everyday conversation. He hopes the public will continue to see that through future interviews, he said.
Sandusky is set to have a preliminary hearing in Centre County court on Dec. 13.