Former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly called the boy he was seen raping in a locker room shower and left him two sickening voicemail messages professing his love – ten years after the reported abuse occurred.
Victim 2, whose graphic abuse was the single most shocking revelation of the horrific sex abuse scandal, stepped forward on Thursday to sue the university.
His identity remains a secret, but to prove the truth behind his claims, he released a pair of voicemails from Jerry Sandusky, left just two months before his arrest on dozens of sex abuse charges.
“I would be very firm and express my feelings up front. There’s nothing, really, to hide so…” Jerry Sandusky says in a voicemail left for the alleged victim, now an adult, on September 12, 2011.
He ends with: “Take care, love you, hope you get this message.”
Jerry Sandusky called again September 19 and asks the man whether he wants to go to a Penn State Football game.
Again, the former coach ends the voicemail with “thanks, I love you”.
Former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time, testified at Jerry Sandusky’s trial that he saw the victim, a 10-year-old boy, with his hands pinned to a shower wall and Sandusky standing behind him in 2001.
“I heard rhythmic slapping sounds, two or three slaps that sounded like skin on skin,” Mike McQueary testified.
“I believe Jerry was sexually molesting him and having some type of intercourse with him.”
Jurors convicted Jerry Sandusky of 45 out of 48 counts of sex abuse charges last month. He awaits sentencing.
Despite the horrifying testimony, Victim 2 was never identified by investigators and never testified at trial.
Now, his lawyers say, he is coming forward to hold the Penn State administrators who covered up his abuse accountable.
“Our client has to live the rest of his life not only dealing with the effects of Sandusky’s childhood sexual abuse, but also with the knowledge that many powerful adults, including those at the highest levels of Penn State, put their own interests and the interests of a child predator above their legal obligations to protect him,” the lawyers said in a news release.
The university said it was taking the case seriously but would not comment on pending litigation.
University President Rodney Erickson and the board of trustees “have publicly emphasized that their goal is to find solutions that rest on the principle of justice for the victims”, a school spokesman said.
The statement from the man’s attorneys said Victim 2 suffered “extensive sexual abuse over many years both before and after the 2002 incident Michael McQueary witnessed”.
McQueary, who estimated the boy to be around 10 years old, reported the abuse to school officials, including longtime coach Joe Paterno, but none of them told police.
In a recent report conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and commissioned by Penn State, the investigators excoriated Joe Paterno and the other administrators for not attempting to identify Victim 2, saying it showed “a striking lack of empathy”.
Trustees fired Joe Paterno, who has since died, because he failed to do more about claims against Jerry Sandusky, and the scathing independent review said several top school officials looked the other way because they were afraid of bad publicity. The NCAA has vacated 112 Penn State wins.
Before the trial, defense attorney Joe Amendola said he had met with a man he believed he might be Victim 2 and the man told him he had not been abused by Sandusky. Joe Amendola said he was not convinced and did not intend to subpoena him, but also said Jerry Sandusky himself was insistent they had the right person.
The statement from Victim 2’s lawyers leaves many questions unanswered, including whether he had been in contact with prosecutors before or during the trial, whether he remembers Mike McQueary, and whether he is the same person who met with Joe Amendola.
“Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of Victim 2 and other children is a direct result of a conspiracy to conceal Sandusky’s conduct and the decisions by top Penn State officials that facilitated and enabled his access to victims,” the statement read.
“We intend to file a civil lawsuit against Penn State University and others and to hold them accountable for the egregious and reckless conduct that facilitated the horrific abuse our client suffered.”
The statement did not say when the lawsuit would be filed or contain details on what redress the plaintiff is seeking. The lawyers said they would not have further comment, and messages left for their spokesman were not immediately returned.
Several messages seeking comment from Joe Amendola and Jerry Sandusky’s other lawyer, Karl Rominger, were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors had said on several occasions they did not know the identity of the boy, and they offered no reaction to the lawyers’ announcement Thursday.
“We can’t comment, given both our ongoing criminal prosecutions and our ongoing investigation,” said Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.
The attorneys who released the statement include several based in Philadelphia and in State College, home to Penn State’s main campus – where the shower assault took place. They also represent three other young men Sandusky was convicted of abusing but have not filed any lawsuits.
A second accuser has filed paperwork indicating an additional complaint is in the works, while other lawyers also have indicated they represent young men with potential claims.
This week Penn State’s general liability insurer sought to deny or limit coverage for Jerry Sandusky-related claims.
Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance argued that Penn State withheld key information needed to assess risk.
In June, after Jerry Sandusky was convicted, the university said it hoped to quickly compensate victims and would reach out to their lawyers. Penn State spokesman Dave La Torre declined to comment on anything related to the victims and any settlement discussions.