Sandusky should save talk for court
A woman was beheaded Monday in Saudi Arabia, this according to the kingdom’s Interior Ministry.
Her crime was sorcery which, according to Amnesty International, could mean actual practicing of witchcraft or worshipping a non-approved god or simply uttering a political statement. The country’s laws are not exactly written down, their trials not public, their protections for the accused lacking, their options for recourse minuscule.
This is why former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky is presumed innocent despite being accused of crimes that a preponderance of the evidence seems to support.
This is why he is out on what seems like crazy low bail.
And this is why Sandusky and his lawyer were able to bail on a preliminary hearing at the last minute Tuesday, causing more pain to the men ready to testify against the man they allege molested them as boys. The reality is he has the legal right to be "a coward" — as a lawyer for the one of the victims properly summed up his Tuesday action — and we should be happy he does. Our little system of justice in this country is flawed, and at times it fails us. It also gives all of us our day in court with a jury of our peers and a presumption of innocence, and Sandusky is entitled to his.
What Sandusky and his lawyer should not be entitled to is a bully pulpit which is currently being afforded to them by my brethren, the media.
If Sandusky wants a presumption of innocence, he needs to shut up. No seriously, he and his lawyer need to shut up.
They do not get to publicly call the victims liars and have nobody fire back. They do not get to drop sports analogies — as they did Tuesday — about fighting for all four quarters, like we are talking about a game against Wisconsin rather than the alleged forcible rape of young boys and not be judged. Sandusky does not get to tell Bob Costas he enjoys the company of young boys and has showered with young boys and he is unsure why they would lie about his sweet, clean intentions and then expect to get a jury of his peers with open minds.
Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, has a theory. He basically accused the latest victims of coming forward because they, too, wanted a place in line when Penn State inevitably starts handing out checks if even half of what they have been accused of turning a negligent eye to turns out being true.
Why yes, Joe, I’m sure Victim Four was super excited to testify in open court for a second time about how Sandusky started a "soap fight" while showering naked with him like he had testified to the grand jury, how that turned into wrestling, how that turned into Sandusky touching his genitals and into forced oral sex and how Sandusky never asked permission but rather just saw what he could get away with on any given day. I can only imagine how easy that is to say in a packed room, how guys line up to say impossibly hard things like that, what it does for your social life, how easy it is to be that guy at work or school.
Actually, I do know a little about the last part only because another victim — Victim One in the grand jury report — was recently bullied out of school after testifying about what Sandusky allegedly did to him.
I am not saying people never lie on the stand, or innocent people are not wrongly accused. What I am saying is the chance of a double-digit number of victims coming forward and lying is highly unlikely, if not impossible to fathom.
Sandusky gets the benefit of the doubt in court, and rightfully so. But it may not even go that far. Sandusky could plea out before this goes to trial. Whatever the outcome, I hope this brings peace to those boys, now men — assuming their claims are legitimate — who still sound traumatized.
“I can’t put into words how unbearable this has been all of my life both physically and mentally,” Victim Four said in a statement read by his lawyer Tuesday. “I can’t believe they put us through this to the last second only to waive the hearing. Regardless of the decision to waive the hearing, nothing has changed. I still will stand my ground to testify and speak the truth.”
Because what is happening now, this attacking of the victims is wrong, even if it is by a lawyer in Amendola so inept that his defense of an accused pedophile included suggesting anybody who believes the grand jury’s version of events needs to call "1-800-REALITY" — which ironically is actually a gay phone sex line.
This is exactly what former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor Theo Fleury meant when he talked about victims fearing coming forward. It is the same reason too many rape victims do not report what happened.
We victimize them again, with "allegeds" and doubt and giving a voice to whatever whack job conspiracy theories about the accused and their motives are thrown out as a defense. Even if Sandusky is innocent, you can see how these conditions exist in cases like this.
It is a necessary evil in court to go through this, the Constitutional price to pay so nobody is randomly beheaded for sorcery. It is irresponsible out of court. The presumption of innocence does not need to extend so far that we in the media have to repeat, replay, give voice to those who might victimize again through words. The next time we should hear from anybody even remotely related to Sandusky’s defense is in court.
This is not Saudi Arabia. Sandusky and his lawyer will have their day to try and show their claims of innocence are more than just presumption.
Until then, Sandusky needs to shut up and be grateful.
Because a woman was beheaded Monday in Saudi Arabia on what, according to Amnesty International, with far less evidence than what the state of Pennsylvania has on Sandusky.