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Associate Dean Daniel Filler Analyzes Outcome of Sandusky Trial in Various Media Outlets

June 25, 2012

Numerous media outlets covering the Jerry Sandusky case quoted Senior Associate Dean Daniel Filler in the aftermath of the former Penn State assistant football coach’s conviction on child sexual abuse charges.

In a Reuters article published in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and MSNBC, Filler discussed Penn State’s announcement that it aims to settle claims with Sandusky’s victims.   
“The biggest problem for Penn State is that they want to get these cases closed,” Filler said. “They want them behind them and they are going to want to spend some money to make that happen.”

The case, in which  Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse on June 22, has left many wondering whether  the former coach could have avoided the conviction by testifying himself rather than relying on others to testify about his character.

In a Christian Science Monitor article, Filler commented that, “the only hope Sandusky had was to testify,” however, Sandusky’s failure to give straightforward answers during his interview with NBC’s Bob Costas back in November, doomed any chance of him testifying, Filler said.  ““For better or for worse, Jerry Sandusky gave an audition about what it would be like on the stand when he talked in the press and his lawyers looked at the audition and didn’t like what they saw,” Filler added.  In an article appearing in The Morning Call on June 21, Professor Adam Benforado agreed that Sandusky’s lawyers were wise to keep him off the stand.

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article covering the verdict, Filler also commented that Sandusky would not have benefitted from taking a plea to avoid the trial.  “Jerry Sandusky had nothing to lose by trying the case and he lost nothing. If he had taken a deal he would have spent the rest of his life in jail anyway.”  On the other hand, the community befitted from the trial, Filler said, commenting that, although the trial and resulting conviction could not make the victims whole, “it is a first step in the healing process."

Filler, who is senior associate dean for academic and faculty affairs and an expert on criminal law, claimed in a June 21 Reuters article published in the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, CNBC, Fox News, that the Sandusky’s character witnesses had the potential to deadlock the jury. Similarly, the length of time between the allegations of abuse and the trial put the prosecution’s case at risk, Professor Richard Frankel told the the Christian Science Monitor on June 11.

Also on June 11, the Huffington Post published an essay by Professor Lisa McElroy on institutional responses to scandal.