PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A year and a half after an investigation began into Jerry Sandusky’s contact with young boys, the former Penn State assistant football coach applied for a volunteer coaching job at a central Pennsylvania college but was denied the job after a background check.
Officials at Juniata College said Wednesday that Sandusky applied for the volunteer football coaching job in May 2010 and rejected the following month after a background check showed a high school where Sandusky previously volunteered was investigating him.
Juniata spokesman John Wall said the college was not informed of the details of the investigation or the existence of a grand jury, but based on the report informed its coaches Sandusky was not to have contact with the program.
“We basically did our due-diligence,” Wall said.
According to Wall, Sandusky continued to attend games after he was rejected for the job and at one point sat in the press box for an away game.
Wall said he wasn’t sure what led Sandusky to be in the press box, but said the school’s former athletic director then reiterated to its coaches that Sandusky was to have no connection with the team.
Sandusky’s attempt to work at Juniata was first reported by WHP-TV.
The information that Sandusky was still pursuing coaching opportunities amid an investigation into his activities comes as his attorney and prosecutors prepare for a preliminary hearing where several of his alleged victims could testify.
A lawyer for one of the young men told The Associated Press his client plans to testify at Tuesday’s hearing and as many as five others who testified before the grand jury could also testify.
The attorney spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he is trying to ensure his client’s identity isn’t revealed publicly.
Another accuser came forward Tuesday and filed a complaint with authorities. The now 19-year-old said he also met Sandusky through The Second Mile, a charity Sandusky founded in 1977 to help at-risk children, lawyer Charles Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the client, whom he did not identify, went to his law firm about three weeks ago, after Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.
“He suffered one incident of abuse, to use the legal term— involuntary deviate sexual intercourse—allegedly at the hands of Mr. Sandusky,” Schmidt said. “That occurred on the Penn State campus, we believe in the area of the football facilities.”
Schmidt told the AP that his client was 12 years old, dealing with the death of his mother and suffering emotional issues at the time of the campus incident. The lawyer said the two met through The Second Mile and his client claims Sandusky gave him liquor while in the office on campus. The grand jury report did not allege any instances of Sandusky giving boys alcohol.
Schmidt said his law firm is conducting its own investigation into the client’s claims.
“We hope to have it wrapped up within another week. We believe him to be credible,” Schmidt said. “Everything that we’ve been able to unearth since has corroborated what he told us, but we’ll continue to do our due diligence.”
Sandusky is charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight young boys, but it’s not clear if prosecutors know the identities of the last two victims. The preliminary hearing could last a day or more, since the defense has the right to cross-examine the state’s witnesses. The judge would then rule if there’s probable cause to uphold the charges.
Sandusky, 67, has denied being a pedophile and has vowed to fight the case. In interviews with NBC and The New York Times, he has said he showered and horsed around with boys but never sexually abused them.
Former sex-crimes prosecutor Richard DeSipio said prosecutors may have to call the six known accusers for the judge to uphold the 40 counts. Defense lawyers sometimes waive preliminary hearings if they are worried about publicity for their clients, but DeSipio said he is not surprised Amendola is demanding the hearing.
“This is their first and only opportunity before trial to actually see the witnesses… to hear their tone and demeanor, and to question them and see how they respond to questions, and also to flush out details,” said DeSipio, who is now a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia.
He expects more cross-examination than is typical at this stage, as Amendola tries to lock in the witnesses’ stories. Still, he said, “I doubt the defense lawyer is going to beat up on them.”
Defense lawyers can also call witnesses to testify at preliminary hearings, but seldom do.
“Our position would be that these people have to testify,” Amendola said in an interview. “And one isn’t sufficient, because you have eight separate incidents … with eight separate alleged victims or accusers.”
The state attorney general’s office would not comment Tuesday on their evidence or strategy.
“We’re not going to talk about specific testimony,” spokesman Nils Frederiksen said Tuesday. “We’ll be prepared to present as much as necessary to hold the case for trial.”
Prosecutors listed eight victims in the grand jury report, but didn’t know the identities of two of them when they issued the report Nov. 5. One of the two was a boy allegedly seen being sodomized by Sandusky in a Penn State football complex shower in 2002.
Amendola said he’s looking forward to questioning the prosecution witnesses—including any alleged victims.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)