Amid a firestorm of controversy, an investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and the probability of civil lawsuits by the alleged victims of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno has hired a high-octane Washington criminal defense lawyer to represent him.
J. Sedgwick Sollers, who once represented President George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra scandal, was hired by Paterno on yesterday to represent the him in the case against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was arrested last weekend and now faces 40 counts of sexual abuse.
Paterno could potentially be named as a defendant in the slew of victim lawsuits that are expected to be filed over the next several months.
In the eyes of many legal experts, Paterno’s comment on Wednesday (“with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more”), combined with his failure to enforce Sandusky’s bringing children onto the Penn State campus opened the door for massive litigation by the victims.
In 2002, Sandusky had been instructed not to bring minors to the university’s campus, yet continued to run his Second Mile foundation for underprivileged children out of the Penn State athletic offices. He was also spotted at least once in 2007 at practice with a young boy described in the grand jury report as “Victim 1“.
Paterno, 84, was fired by Penn State’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday in the wake of a grand jury report that one of his assistants had told Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the showers of the locker room. Paterno testified that he reported the incident to school officials, but not to local law enforcement.
Paterno has not been charged with any crimes.
- Joe Paterno: Lawyering Up Doesn’t Make JoePa Guilty of Anything (bleacherreport.com)
- Report: Paterno sought criminal defense lawyer – CBS News (cbsnews.com)