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Karl Rominger, Sandusky Lawyer, Suggests Accused Penn State Coach Was Teaching Hygiene Habits

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/15/11 01:54 PM ET Updated: 12/16/11 01:59 PM ET

Karl Rominger Sandusky Lawyer

After waiving his right to a preliminary hearing earlier this week, Jerry Sandusky continued to maintain that he is not guilty of the more than 50 counts of sexual assault that he is facing, even invoking a football metaphor during a brief statement to the press.

"What we intend is to put together the best possible defense that we could do, to stay the course, to fight for four quarters, and await the opportunity to present our side," Sandusky said before leaving the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.

As part of this "best possible defense," Sandusky's lawyers are actively engaging the media. After the alleged sexual predator returned to his home, Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, held court with a large media contingent, seizing the opportunity to present his client's case in the court of public opinion. By Amendola's side on the steps of the courthouse was another member of Sandusky's legal team, attorney Karl Rominger.

Based in Carlisle, Pa., Rominger has also been speaking up on behalf of his client this week. During an appearance with ABC27 News on Tuesday, Rominger suggested that Sandusky could have been showering with boys -- something that he has repeatedly admitted to -- in order to teach them "basic hygiene skills" rather than for any sexual purpose.

"Some of these kids don't have basic hygiene skills," Rominger told ABC 27. "Teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body."

When pressed about his showers with the young boys accusing him of sexual assault during an interview with NBC's Bob Costas, Sandusky made no mention of any such instructional purpose, instead admitting to "horsing around" during showers with the alleged victims.

Although Rominger's interview with ABC 27 suggests that he has the same views on media engagement as Amendola, there is a post on the Rominger & Associates website that suggests these two members of Team Sandusky may not always be on the same page. In September 2011, Rominger posted an article entitled "What Is A Preliminary Hearing?" and wrote that it is a common mistake to waive this hearing. Clearly, Amendola felt differently in this case.

UPDATE 12/16 6:20 PM: On Thursday, Rominger issued a statement clarifying his comments earlier in the week about the reasons why an adult might shower with an adolescent.

"When answering why a person might be in a shower with a youth, I proposed one hypothetical, such as an adult leading by example and encouraging a youth with bad or poor hygiene to shower regularly. Some commentators have argued that I am saying that Mr. Sandusky showered with youths and touched them inappropriately for the purpose of teaching them how to shower. That is not what I said. First, there's no evidence of inappropriate touching in a shower, except for discredited statements from the grand jury presentment. Further, Jerry has maintained his innocent [sic] and denies any sexual touching or inappropriate touching in the shower. Therefore, I would like to clarify that I am not suggesting that this is what happened in this case, but was answering questions about possible motivations an individual might have for an adult to shower with a juvenile."

The slideshow below shows the key players in the Sandusky scandal:

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  • Jerry Sandusky

    Following a three-year investigation, the former Penn State player and assistant coach was <a href="http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2011/11/07/grand_jury_presentment_story.aspx" target="_hplink">indicted</a> on Nov. 4 on 40 counts of sexual crimes against male minors that occurred over the span of more than a decade -- the first alleged recorded incident of abuse <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/07/justice/pennsylvania-coach-abuse-timeline/?hpt=ju_c2" target="_hplink">dates back to 1994,</a> and Sandusky was first investigated in 1998.. The allegations have rocked Penn State's storied athletic program to its core, raising questions of who in the program knew what -- and how much -- when.

  • Mike McQueary

    <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/penn_state/133338298.html" target="_hplink">McQueary</a> was a graduate assistant at Penn State when he allegedly witnessed coach Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower. Shocked by what he saw, he reported it to head coach Joe Paterno, who then told Athletic Director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz. Ten days after McQueary saw the incident, Curley and Schutlz told him that they were not going to report it to police.

  • Joe Paterno

    The famed Nittany Lions coach was allegedly informed of Sandusky's actions in 2002, after which he reported them to Athletic Director Tim Curley. He claims that he did not know the full extent of Sandusky's actions. In a statement, Paterno said that "the fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling." Joe Paterno <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/joe-paterno-dead-ex-penn-state-football-coach-obit_n_1221946.html" target="_hplink">passed away from lung cancer </a>on Jan. 22, 2012.

  • Gary Schultz

    The Daily Collegian reports that Penn State senior vice president for finance and business <a href="http://www.collegian.psu.edu/" target="_hplink">Gary Schultz</a> was known for his family values. However, Schultz allegedly lied to authorities about what he knew in regards to Sandusky's actions, and may have been aware of them for years. He has since resigned from his job. A judge ruled in December that<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/tim-curley-gary-schultz-hearing-trial-penn-state_n_1154360.html" target="_hplink"> Schultz and Curley will be tried</a> on charges of lying to a grand jury.

  • Tim Curley

    Penn State's athletic director was informed of Sandusky's misdeeds as early as 2002, but maintains that he was not aware of their explicit nature. He has been charged with failure to report and has been put on administrative leave. He claims he is innocent. A judge ruled in December that<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/tim-curley-gary-schultz-hearing-trial-penn-state_n_1154360.html" target="_hplink">Gary Schultz and Curley will be tried</a> on charges of lying to a grand jury.

  • Graham Spanier

    Penn State President Spanier, left, recently wrote to the Penn State Daily Collegian that he believed he had the best job in American education. Now, students and alumni are <a href="http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2011/11/07/Petition_to_fire_president_spanier.aspx" target="_hplink">calling for him to be fired</a> in the wake of horrific sexual abuse accusations against former coach Jerry Sandusky.

  • The Second Mile

    Sandusky's <a href="http://www.thesecondmile.org/" target="_hplink">charity,</a> founded in 1977, allowed him unfettered access to young boys under the guise of selflessness.

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