Judge bars lawyers in Sandusky case from identifying one of the accusers
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A visiting judge has barred lawyers from identifying in legal filings one of the alleged sex-abuse victims of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
That order -- which trial attorneys described Wednesday as unusual -- came amid fears that the man might be publicly outed as state prosecutors, Mr. Sandusky's defense, and a slew of civil attorneys prepare to take their cases to trial.
"Right now, our client and the other victims ... are terrified about being publicly identified," said Andrew Shubin, lawyer for the alleged victim. "We will continue to do everything legally possible to prevent that from happening."
Customarily, victims of childhood sexual abuse are granted some measure of anonymity in the courts -- at least in early proceedings. In several lawsuits filed since the Catholic Church's sex-abuse scandal, plaintiffs have identified themselves only as John Doe.
Thus, Tuesday's order struck veteran plaintiff's attorney Jeff Anderson as odd.
"That's usually a given," said Mr. Anderson, who has said he is in talks with several purported victims of Mr. Sandusky. "I have never had a client's identity disclosed unless voluntarily, or needed a court order to make sure that happened."
Mr. Shubin said Wednesday he expected Mr. Sandusky's defense lawyer to identify his client in court filings in an attempt to discredit the man's testimony against the former coach.
Mr. Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
But in recent days, he has taken to the airwaves to challenge the stories of several of the men believed to have testified against his client. A grand jury report unsealed this month alleges Mr. Sandusky sexually abused eight boys he met between 1994 and 2009 at The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youth.
"People -- when they're brought into the criminal justice system and they're labeled as victims -- they're pampered, they're encouraged, they're treated specially," Mr. Amendola said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News. "Particularly when you are dealing with someone who hasn't had ... the greatest of lives."
In other interviews, Mr. Amendola has gone further, challenging the specific stories of alleged victims, although he has not identified any of them by name.
In an interview with NBC News last week, Mr. Amendola questioned the story of Victim 4, a man who told grand jurors that Mr. Sandusky took him as a child to bowl games in San Antonio and abused him. The man, his girlfriend and their newborn recently visited the former coach and his wife and asked them to be part of his son's life, Mr. Amendola said.
But Benjamin Andreozzi, a Harrisburg lawyer who said he represents Victim 4, has denied Mr. Amendola's claims.
"My client now has become even more adamant that he intends to testify and not waver from his grand jury presentment testimony," Mr. Andreozzi said.
Mr. Shubin declined to say whether his client was one of the eight purported victims described in the grand jury report or someone else who has come forward claiming abuse since Mr. Sandusky's arrest.
His motion seeking anonymity for his client was filed under seal in Centre County Court.
It was granted by Judge Kathy A. Morrow, a central Pennsylvania jurist assigned Tuesday to hear preliminary motions in the case. All five of Centre County's judges recused themselves earlier in the day.
First Published November 24, 2011 12:00 am