Judge Rules Insurer Not Obliged to Cover Sandusky

By MARK SCOLFORO | March 4, 2013

The insurance carrier for the children’s charity founded by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky doesn’t have to cover his criminal or civil legal costs related to acts of child sexual abuse, a judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane said Sandusky was not acting as an employee or executive of The Second Mile when he abused and molested boys.

“The fact that Sandusky met his victims through The Second Mile – or even sexually abused victims ‘during the course of activities of Second Mile’ – does not change the fact that his sexual abuse of children was personal in nature, and performed in his individual capacity,” the judge’s ruling said.

The judge ruled in favor of Warren, N.J.-based Federal Insurance Co., which had brought the case against Sandusky. The decision related to paying for his lawyers follows the judge’s earlier ruling that the insurer wasn’t on the hook for judgments against him.

Sandusky was convicted last summer of abusing 10 boys, some of whom he met through the charity he founded in 1977. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison but maintains his innocence and is appealing. He faces lawsuits from some of his accusers.

Sandusky’s lead appellate lawyer, Norris Gelman, said he would be sticking with his client but “without money it’s going to be a little tough.”

“I’ll talk to him, I’ll talk to his wife, and we’ll see what’s what,” Gelman said. “I’m not the kind of guy who would quit in the middle of a case. I’ve never done that, and I don’t think I ever will.”

Gelman said Federal Insurance had paid him some money but declined to say how much. Neither the insurer’s lawyers nor Sandusky’s civil lawyers immediately returned phone messages Friday.

In June, the judge said the insurer would not have to pay any civil judgments against Sandusky related to abuse but did not rule on the question of legal defense costs. That decision did not necessarily apply to The Second Mile, she said.

Federal Insurance previously advanced $125,000 to Sandusky’s criminal defense attorney, the judge wrote.

Eight young men testified against Sandusky, describing a range of abuse they said went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys.

Sandusky, 69, did not testify at his trial but has long insisted he’s innocent. He acknowledges he showered with boys but says he never molested them.

The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down football coach Joe Paterno and the university’s president and leading the NCAA, college sports’ governing body, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university’s football program.

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