Penn State Suspect's Defense: Challenge Victims' Credibility

Jerry Sandusky's lawyer says they will beat a prosecution.

November 18, 2011, 1:55 PM

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. Nov. 18, 2011— -- The lawyer for accused Penn State child molester Jerry Sandusky said today he can defeat a potential prosecution by attacking the credibility of key witness Mike McQueary and the accounts of two alleged victims.

Lawyer Joe Amendola told ABC News that if Sandusky, 67, is guilty, "He deserves to go to prison for the rest of his life." But the former Penn State defensive coach is innocent of the 40 charges of sexual abuse leveled at him, Amendola said.

The lawyer targeted McQueary's credibility as ABC News documented at least five instances in which McQueary and Sandusky appeared together at public events after McQueary reported witnessing Sandusky rape a 10-year-old boy in the team's locker room showers. One of those events was less than a month after the alleged rape occurred.

More delicate will be Amendola's strategy to discredit two of the alleged victims, identified in the grand jury report as Victim1 and Victim 4.

Amendola told ABC News that Victim 1 has already changed his story, initially telling police that Sandusky fondled him, and then later claiming that Sandusky forced the boy into oral sex and raped him. Amendola will accuse the boy of embellishing the story for attention, he told ABC News.

The lawyer said he will also undermine Victim 4's account, saying that the boy remained friends with Sandusky until recently.

In addition, Amendola said, "Two of the young men who we believe are listed as victims had dinner with Jerry and Dottie [Sandusky] this past summer, and another alleged victim brought his girlfriend and baby to meet Jerry and Dottie two years ago."

Amendola said he knows police tape recorded at least one phone call between his client and one of the victims. He believes Victim 1 called Sandusky and asked him why he performed sex acts on him, but is confident that Sandusky said nothing incriminating.

McQueary has also changed his story, Amendola claims. The grand jury report states that McQueary saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the showers March 1, 2002, and left the area. He reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno the next day, but never went to the police.

"(McQueary's account) makes no sense," said Amendola, arguing that if an adult saw a man raping a boy, he would stop it, not report it a day later.

In emails to friends this week, McQueary has stated that the grand jury report is not complete.

"I did stop it, not physically… but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room," McQueary wrote. "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police."

But both the university police department and State College, Pa., police department told ABC News they have no record of McQueary telling them about the incident.

McQueary's behavior has been the focus of criticism since the grand jury report was released Nov. 4, and continues to get scrutiny. Despite what he reported, McQueary continued to work with Sandusky on a professional basis for years.

Mike McQueary Shook Hands With Jerry Sandusky

Ben Smith, 22, of Brockport, N.Y., told ABC News of attending a football camp at Penn State in 2006 that was run by Paterno and McQueary and that Sandusky was a guest speaker, and remembers McQueary and Sandusky being chummy.

"Sandusky and McQueary, at one point, I watched them shake hands... When I first heard all about the McQueary stuff, I thought wait a second, they were at same event together," Smith said.

"For him to be able to do anything with Jerry Sandusky, they have problems," Smith said. "I don't think most human beings would be able to live through their life do things on daily basis knowing that lives have been ruined. Who knows how many children's lives were ruined by Jerry Sandusky."

The two men also appeared together on the football field for a charity flag football game for the Easter Seals on March 28, 2002, just weeks after McQueary reported Sandusky's alleged sexual assault. McQueary played and Sandusky coached.

McQueary also played in a June 21, 2002, celebrity golf tournament benefitting Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile.

In 2003, McQueary played in another Second Mile golf tournament and played in the Easter Seals flag football game, with Sandusky coaching, in April 2004.

Amendola says that Sandusky has been vilified as a pedophile for simply showering with boys, a common practice in "locker room culture," he said.

Amendola told ABC News a previous 1998 case against Sandusky was declared unfounded by police, the District Attorney and Child Services. Despite Sandusky's admission that he showered with the then-10 year old boy and gave him a skin-to-skin bear hug, no actual sex could be proven.

"His genitals never touched the boy," Amendola said.

Amendola also defended his decision to put his client on television and said he will do it again. He said the public needed to hear Sandusky say that he is not a pedophile and, while he did shower with boys, he did not have sex with them.

The NCAA informed Penn State today that it will investigate the school to examine "Penn State's exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs."

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