Although former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has thus far maintained his innocence in the face of shocking allegations of sexual abuse of children, there are recent developments in the case that reportedly have his legal counsel open to considering pleading guilty to potentially secure a deal.
Earlier this week, a new alleged victim went forward with a lawsuit against Sandusky. A 29-year-old male identified only as John Doe alleges more than 100 incidents of sexual abuse by Sandusky beginning in 1992 when the 10 years old. This potential victim was not among the eight boys identified in the original grand jury report -- which detailed 40 counts of abuse against those eight boys over a 15-year span -- but he has become the first to file a lawsuit. One of the alleged victims from the grand jury report, the boy identified as "Victim 1," retained legal counsel this week.
In hindsight, Sandusky's own words may have proven a galvanizing force for his alleged victims. Although he admitted to Costas that he had indeed showered and acknowledged "horsing around" during those showers, Sandusky claimed he is innocent of the charges of sexual assault. The mother of "Victim 1" appeared on television shortly after the Costas interview to share her son's horror at watching the program and displeasure that Sandusky was free on unsecured bail. Several days later, Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, expressed concern that his client could find his favorable bail situation altered if more victims continued to come forward.
With a previously unknown victim filing suit and Child and Youth Services in Pennsylvania currently investigating the possible abuse of a boy who currently remains under age 18, the charges against the former Penn State coach seem likely to multiply. Moreover, FOX News is reporting that six of the eight victims discussed in the grand jury report are ready to testify in open court when called upon.
In light of these developments, Amendola admitted to Sara Ganim of The Patriots-News that he may have to consider entering a guilty plea if "Jerry gets to the point where he realizes fighting against more than the original allegations." Amendola goes on to describe such a situation as "a real uphill battle."
Given the metabolism of the case since it became public in early November, there is no reason to think that alleged victims won't continue to emerge. In fact, Sandusky may have even inspired someone connected to the sexual abuse scandal at Syracuse University to come forward. In interviews with ESPN and CNN, former Syracuse ball boy Mike Lang admitted that he had been watching coverage of the Penn State scandal when he decided to contact to ESPN to share his own allegations of abuse against former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.
UPDATE: On Thursday, Jerry Sandusky's lawyer, Jerry Amendola, spoke out to clarify that he is not presently considering a guilty plea and never has. Sandusky maintains his innocence and Amendola currently has every intention to argue that at trial.
Ganim, the reporter to whom Amendola revealed that developments could push him to consider a guilty plea, addressed Amendola's statement on Twitter.
What seems like a contradiction at first glance is merely a matter of tense. Ganim reported that Amendola says he could consider a guilty plea in the future as the case evolves. Amendola, in turn, says that at he has not considered such a plea previously and is not doing so at the moment. Of course, no such considerations in the past and present still allow for them in the future, as Ganim reported.