Latest eyebrow-raiser: Sandusky lawyer invites students out for drinks
By Adam Smeltz and Brad Bumsted
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Jerry Sandusky shouldn't have showered with those kids.
The former college football coach, 68, said as much to NBC's Bob Costas 10 days after his arrest in November.
But with his sentencing complete, that jarring appearance now ranks among the odd turns in a strange criminal defense that has defied legal norms for almost a year.
Fresh twists came Monday night when a student radio station shared a bold statement from the imprisoned pedophile while his second-string attorney drank in downtown State College.
“OK, I'm buying at Zeno's bar,” the attorney, Karl Rominger, wrote on Twitter. He invited Penn State University students to show up within 30 minutes “to get on my tab.”
“Coeds appreciated,” Rominger added.
At Duquesne University, law professor S. Michael Streib said the legal community doesn't look well on such antics. “To the extent that he's become a public persona because of his participation in the Sandusky case, I'm not sure that's an image he would want to cultivate,” Streib said.
Rominger said he was simply kidding on Twitter and didn't drink with any college women. He argued much of the case has proven unconventional.
“I don't know if there was any (plan), per se, to throw out the rule book,” he said. “The reality of modern trial practice in a high-profile case is that you have to consider the media component. The government does. They're controlling it with charging documents, the perp walk.”
Rominger said a conventional defense may not put its client on NBC or in The New York Times, with which Sandusky also did an interview last fall.
But news media helped shape the ordeal from the start, and the defense team wanted to avoid “a patina of guilt” before the trial in June, Rominger said.
More recently, Sandusky himself “really wanted to get his side of the story out.” His nearly three-minute audio message shared through ComRadio, a university-backed student station, was meant for release after sentencing Tuesday, Rominger said.
Sandusky used the rambling message to declare his wife has been “my only sex partner.” He also questioned the integrity of his victims.
He went further at sentencing, saying: “I've been kissed by dogs; I've been bitten by dogs.” Sandusky also implied he cracked his head against the wall and suggested it was ironic, though his context and meaning were unclear.
“Unfortunately, this is classic narcissism that is normally used by chronic child abusers or pedophiles. They completely lack any sort of empathy,” said Tony Gaskew, a criminal-justice professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
He said Sandusky “cannot even remotely see the impact of his behavior on others because he feels he's the most important entity.”
Longtime Sandusky friend Joyce Porter, 64, of State College said she was surprised he made a statement. She doesn't know what he was trying to accomplish.
“You know, what can he say?” said Porter, who thinks Sandusky is innocent. “Most people don't believe him. Most people had him prosecuted before the trial even started. I think a lot of people would've sent him to prison just for taking a shower with a boy.
“It was their word against his word.”
Brad Bumsted and Adam Smeltz are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Drug company buys Duquesne prof’s cancer research
- Smaller transit service funds intact under new Pa. transportation plan
- Pittsburgh Foundation’s Wishbook features 48 nonprofits
- Energy drinks, alcohol don’t mix, study finds
- North Side market’s ‘good run’ comes to end
- Environmental Charter School wants to offer high school classes
- Newsmaker: Kacey Marra
- Allegheny County District Attorney’s budget bump to fund employee pay raises
- Nation increasingly at odds over use of ‘God’
- Pittsburgh Poison Center warns of krokodil
- Afghanistan troubles remain, diplomat says