The judge in the Jerry Sandusky case, John Cleland, just gagged all the parties to the case. The Inky suggests the gag is targeted at Sandusky’s lawyer, Joseph Amendola. Of course, Amendola and even Sandusky himself have been working the media since Sandusky was first charged in the case, and the judge never issued a gag. The Inky points to contradictory psychological evaluations from one of the victims, suggesting (without any evident proof) the report came from Sandusky’s team.
Cleland’s gag order comes just more than a week after two conflicting psychological evaluations of one of Sandusky’s alleged victims were leaked to NBC News and other media outlets. Prosecutors had argued that not even the former coach’s defense team should have access to the files because releasing them would violate the rights of the purported victims.
One of the psychologists who interviewed a boy that Sandusky purportedly showered with in 1999 while on the Penn State campus concluded that the coach showed a “pedophile’s pattern of building trust” with a victim. Another, however, saw nothing inappropriate and noted that coaches often showered with their college-aged athletes.
But as the Inky admits, that report came out more than a week ago. A more recent collection of new revelations (with a reference to one of the psychologist’s reports) came from Don Van Natta Jr just two business days ago. His JoePa-friendly investigative report for ESPN focused on Governor Tom Corbett’s role.
A 62-year-old Republican, Corbett is a blunt-spoken former prosecutor whose political career has been built pursuing powerful people who, he has said, “believe they are beyond the law.” And his role in the Penn State scandal, fraught with potential conflicts, placed him in a remarkable position. As Pennsylvania’s attorney general, he investigated Sandusky for nearly two years but failed to make an arrest. But then, as governor, he blamed the university’s leaders for not doing more.
To some, Corbett relished the opportunity and had even planned to play a role in managing the crisis. Eight days before the Sandusky grand jury presentment was released this past November, Corbett’s staff booked hotel rooms in State College. Becoming governor had made Corbett a trustee, and he had decided to attend his first board meeting, after missing the first four. During those days of crisis in State College, he lobbied for the ouster of Paterno and Spanier, ending with that conference call on Nov. 9. And when he was on campus the next day, after Spanier’s resignation and Paterno’s firing, he celebrated the leadership changes. “Throughout this whole process, I felt he had some ulterior motive,” a trustee says of Corbett. “Most trustees felt uncomfortable with his role. It was odd for him to be there and participate the way he did. Very odd.”
A passionate defender of children who had opened a sexual predators unit in his office, Corbett had aggressively pursued such prosecutions during his career. But this time, he assigned just one investigator to the Sandusky case, say lawyers with knowledge of the arrangement, although Corbett has denied this through his spokesman. At the time, he had 14 investigators looking into the activities of Pennsylvania House Speaker Bill DeWeese, a Democrat, who was accused of having staff members use state resources for his campaign.
The information on Corbett appears to come from Penn State’s board and members of the investigative team, who would presumably be covered by the gag, though also by State College locals who reported on Corbett’s actions.
It may well be the judge decided to issue this gag because of those psychological reports (though details about the victims have already leaked). But the timing suggests it might well be targeted at those suggesting Corbett’s actions were less than noble in this affair.