Today marked day one of the trial of Jerry Sandusky. His attorney, Joe Amendola, had what could charitably be called a bad day. Starting with opening arguments and sinking from there, Joe just doesn't seem up to the title of Best Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania.
Here's a few thoughts about the day.
Amendola opened with typical defense attorney tactics. In this case, they were complete nonsense. "If my client did this why did four adults not come forward?" "This case will show that these so called victims have a financial stake in this" Amendola might as well have led with "If my client is a liar, why are his pants not on fire?" (thanks to Tim Baffoe AKA @ten_foot_midget on twitter for that line).
One of the oldest ploys in the book is to blame the victims. In this case, Amendola and by extension Sandusky are blaming the victims "financial stake" as their reason for coming forward. In the 18 years that I have been investigating child abuse and child sexual abuse, I have heard a riff on this hundreds of times. It's a pet peeve for myself and anybody who does this work.
Occasionally there are cases in which child abuse and child sexual abuse allegations are made for some gain. Those cases usually involve custody battles. In cases where a group of victims comes forward against an authority figure, the chances that they are making up something for any gain, are extremely low. When kids try to get someone in trouble, they don't say they were sexually abused, the say someone hit me, lied about me, etc.
The key here is that the victims were boys and now are men. There is no amount of financial recompense that can assuage the stigma of being a male survivor of sexual abuse. The guilt, fear, and self loathing are abysmal. These men would not be making up facts about being abused sexually if it didn't happen. Period.
Given that all of these victims were recruited through Second Mile, if they wanted to make money, they could write a book about how great Jerry was in saving them. A lot easier to make money singing the praises of a savior than it is to get money making up false sex allegations.
I'd also like to briefly discuss Sandusky's demeanor. Today, people mused that he must be the best actor in the world, or he just doesn't get it.
Again, calling on years of experience, my gut says the latter is true. The experiences that me and my fellow investigators have had clearly show that the hard core abusers, just don't get it. Sandusky is incapable of believing that what he did was wrong. His particular paraphelia is such that as long as he "loves" his victims he is never wrong.
Having said all this, a word of caution. A good first day does not conviction make. Unfortunately, bad guys go free because of one stupid juror.
I'll continue to add opinions as the trial progresses. For those who find this whole thing disgusting, welcome to my world.