Sandusky Lawyer Says a Chief Reason He Accepted the Case Was to Clear Paterno’s Name
Posted Jun 28, 2012 7:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer Karl Rominger says a chief reason he accepted the case was to clear the name of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, according to a published account.
Rominger talked about his support for Paterno in an interview with the Sentinel. “My position has always been that Paterno got the shaft,” Rominger told the publication. He believe that Paterno’s firing after Sandusky's arrest hastened the coach’s death from complications due to lung cancer.
Rominger believes it was a victory for Paterno when the jury acquitted Sandusky on two counts related to assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he saw what he believed to be intercourse between Sandusky and a youth in a Penn State shower. McQueary said he reported the incident to Paterno, though he didn’t give the explicit details. Paterno said he recalled allegations of “horsing around” or “fondling” but he never had the understanding that a rape occurred.
The acquittals “for me, vindicated Paterno,” Rominger told the Sentinel.
Rominger said it was clear from the grand jury presentment that defending Sandusky was an exercise in futility, the story says. He refused to tell the publication whether he believed his client was innocent. “As a criminal defense lawyer, you don’t have the luxury of assuming your client is telling the truth,” Rominger said. “Even when a client tells you he is guilty, you have to be cautious that he isn’t throwing himself on his sword for someone else. I never ask about the guilt or innocence of my client.”
Rominger did say, however, that Sandusky’s behavior could be a “boundary issue,” which is problematic if a child has been previously assaulted. “Remember, Jerry was around thousands and thousands of troubled youth and he was violating boundaries with them, but that may be simply as far as it went,” Rominger told the Sentinel.