Sandusky lawyer inadvertently touts gay sex line

By Maryclaire Dale

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 8:57 p.m. MST

Jerry Sandusky, left, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, arrives with his wife, Dottie Sandusky, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. Sandusky has waived his preliminary hearing, a decision that moves him toward a trial on charges of child sex abuse. At least some of his 10 accusers had been expected to testify at the hearing. The move was announced as the hearing began Tuesday.

Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A lawyer for a former Penn State assistant football coach accused of molesting boys said Tuesday he didn't mean to refer to a gay sex phone line when he said anyone who believes university officials thought his client raped a 10-year-old boy and did little about it should call 1-800-REALITY.

The phrase is one attorney Joseph Amendola says he has used for years to mean "get a life," but the phone number is that of a sex line for gay and bi-curious men.

Amendola's quip came Tuesday after his client Jerry Sandusky stunned a packed courtroom and backed out of a preliminary hearing at the last minute, avoiding a face-to-face confrontation with accusers who the lawyer said were just trying to cash in by making up stories of child sex abuse. The remark outraged some of the accusers and advocates for victims of abuse and created a huge stir online.

Amendola, during his lengthy comments to reporters outside the courthouse, said that if former Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary had witnessed a 10-year-old boy being sexually assaulted in a campus shower and had told the head football coach, the athletic director, a university vice president and the university president and "their response was simply to tell Jerry Sandusky that 'Don't go into the shower anymore with kids,' I suggest you dial 1-800-REALITY because that makes absolutely no sense."

He later said he has been using the remark "when people have said things that make no sense."

"It's analogous to 'get a life,'" he said. "I had no idea that was a real number, let alone what it actually is. I will not be using that line in the future!"

Earlier, Sandusky, who has acknowledged showering with boys but says he never molested them and has pleaded not guilty, vowed to "stay the course, to fight for four quarters."

Amendola then took the defense to the courthouse steps and spoke before dozens of news cameras for an hour, saying some of the 10 men who accuse Sandusky of molesting them as children were only out to profit from civil lawsuits against his client and the university.

A prosecutor said about 11 witnesses, most of them who claim to be victims, were ready to testify at the hearing.

An attorney for one called Sandusky a "coward" for not hearing his accusers' testimony and derided the arguments that they were out for money, saying many were too old to sue Sandusky under Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

"It makes my blood boil," said Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who read a statement by his client, identified in a grand jury report as Victim 4, who was said to have become a fixture in the Sandusky household. "All the money in the world isn't going to bring them back to where they were before the sexual assaults."

Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for what a grand jury called a series of sexual assaults and abuse of 10 boys dating back to the 1990s, in hotel swimming pools, in the basement of his home in State College, where the university is based, and in the locker room showers at the university, where he coached football until his retirement in 1999.

The charges devastated the university and its storied football program and led to the departures of coach Joe Paterno and the university's president and charges against the athletic director and the vice president, who are accused of lying to a grand jury and failing to report the abuse allegations.

Amendola told reporters Tuesday that Sandusky, 67, is an emotional, physical man — "a loving guy, an affectionate guy" — who never did anything illegal. He likened Sandusky's behavior to his own Italian family in which "everybody hugged and kissed each other."

The lawyer claimed the accusers were seeking to cash in through false accusations and said the preliminary hearing would not have allowed him to delve into the witnesses' credibility.

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