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New judge assigned in Penn State sex-abuse case

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A new judge was assigned to handle Jerry Sandusky’s child sex-abuse charges on Wednesday as a lawyer for a boy who accuses the former Penn State assistant football coach of abuse took aim at his televised defense.

Jerry Sandusky

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts said it was bringing in a Westmoreland County senior district judge to preside over Sandusky’s preliminary hearing. Senior Judge Robert E. Scott is taking over the hearing from Centre County District Judge Leslie Dutchcot.

Dutchcot has donated money to The Second Mile, a charity established by Sandusky for at-risk children and the place where authorities say he met his victims.

The office said Scott has no known ties to Penn State or The Second Mile. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Also on Wednesday, Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi said he represents a client who will testify against Sandusky, who is accused of abusing eight boys over 15 years.

“I am appalled by the fact that Mr. Sandusky has elected to re-victimize these young men at a time when they should be healing,” Andreozzi said in a statement released by his office. “He fully intends to testify that he was severely sexually assaulted by Mr. Sandusky.”

Andreozzi said he has his “finger on the pulse” of the case and knows of no accusers changing their stories or refusing to testify.

“To the contrary, others are actually coming forward, and I will have more information for you later this week,” Andreozzi said.

Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, appeared on NBC’s “Rock Center” Monday night to cast doubt on the evidence in the case.

“We anticipate we’re going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say ‘This never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred,” Amendola said.

The answering machine at Amendola’s State College office was full and not accepting messages on Wednesday.

Lawyers advertising

Some plaintiffs’ lawyers are starting to advertise on their websites for potential Sandusky victims, vowing to get justice.

Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., attorney, has long represented clergy-abuse victims and told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has been retained by several people he described as Sandusky victims.

“There’s a great deal of fury and confusion,” particularly because Sandusky is free on bail, Anderson said. “Getting (them) help and cooperating with law enforcement is our first priority.”

The “time for reckoning,” in the form of civil suits, will come later, Anderson said.

Anderson declined to say whether his clients are among the eight boys who were labeled as victims in the grand jury report.

Likewise, Berks County lawyer Jay Abramowitch, who has represented about 150 child-sex victims, many of them in clergy-abuse cases, said he is following the Penn State case closely. He declined to say if he was representing anyone accusing Sandusky of abuse.

“The real significance of what happened in the Sandusky situation is that people are beginning to understand the cover-up that goes on in any structural organization that employs a pedophile. And that’s why these pedophiles are running wild,” he said.

“What’s the answer? One of the answers is to allow these victims the right to go to court and file suit against not only the pedophile, but the group that employed them … and didn’t do anything,” Abramowitch said.

Abramowitch long fought to have the state extend the time limit for victims to file civil suits, a change made only after a 2005 grand jury report described years of abuse within the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced a bill that would require all adults to report child abuse and neglect to police or local child protective agencies.

And new details were emerging about how the case ended up in the hands of the state attorney general’s office.

Former Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira told The Associated Press that his wife’s brother — who he declined to name — was Sandusky’s adopted son.

“I reviewed it and I made the decision it needed to be investigated further,” Madeira said. “But the apparent conflict of interest created an impediment for me to make those kinds of decisions.”

Changes made

In State College, Penn State announced a physician and member of its board of trustees who played football and wrestled for the school would serve as acting athletic director. The school named Dr. David M. Joyner, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and a business consultant, as the interim replacement for Tim Curley.

Curley is on leave as athletic director as he defends himself against criminal charges that he failed to properly alert authorities when told of an alleged sexual assault by Sandusky against a child, and that he lied to a grand jury.

Joyner’s position on the board, where he has been a trustee since 2000, is being suspended as he takes on the new duties.

Also Wednesday, a central Pennsylvania police chief said his department did not receive reports from a then-Penn State graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky raping a boy on campus in 2002.

The assistant, Mike McQueary, wrote in an email to a friend that was made available to The Associated Press that he had discussions with police about what he saw. In the email, McQueary did not specify which police department he spoke to.

State College borough police chief Tom King said McQueary didn’t make a report to his department.

The university also has its own police force. Penn State administrators said they were looking into whether McQueary contacted campus police.

The scandal’s fallout extended to former Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris, whose relationship with a southwestern Pennsylvania racetrack and casino was put on hiatus after he chastised Penn State’s trustees for showing “no courage” for firing Paterno, who has not been charged with a crime and is not considered a target of prosecutors.

Harris, who played for Paterno from 1968 to 1971, had recently signed on to be a spokesman for The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, located in Washington, Pa., about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh. The track said it was a mutual decision.