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Some Penn State Students Drank and Went to Taco Bell with Jerry Sandusky’s Lawyer Last Night, Just Hours Before Sandusky was Sentenced to 30-60 Years in Prison

Kyle Scott - October 9, 2012

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Pic via Kevin Horne, Onward State's managing editor

Earlier today I came across a Deadspin post which recapped the eventful and odd evening had by some Penn State students last night. It all started for them when Jerry Sandusky’s co-counsel, Karl Rominger, the oversharing sidekick of Joe Amendola, tweeted (and since deleted) an offer:

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Screen dutifully grabbed by SB Nation

That was less than 12 hours before Rominger was scheduled to appear in court for Sandusky's sentencing.

A few Penn State students – including some from Onward State, an independent student website that has been covering the Sandusky saga, and The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper – showed up. The Daily Collegian reporter, a coed, brought along a notebook in what turned out to be a fruitless attempt to interview Rominger. The folks from Onward State, Kevin Horne and Drew Balis (and friends), whose names I recognized from their coverage over the past year, were just there for the free drinks, ostensibly paid for by Sandusky. They tweeted updates, which Deadspin has aggregated quite nicely. But I decided to reach out to them to see what their night was like– drinking with a lawyer for one of the most notorious criminals of this new millenium just hours before sentencing.

Drew Balis: [edited, for readability]

We walked in there. Rominger was sitting there at the bar and we introduced ourselves one-by-one, joked with him that we were covering the trial and probably shouldn’t be here, but whatever. He went around and bought everybody a drink.

He was pretty relaxed and we asked him a couple of things about [sentencing], and he pretty much said his job was done and, “Tomorrow, I’ll just be praying.” And he mimicked the praying motion.


Rominger was pleased when a coed seemingly responded to his bat signal. Balis:

Karl was tweeting to get a girl to show up, so she (the Daily Collegian reporter) gets there and he’s trying to entice her to get a drink. She said she can’t do that, it’s against the rules [for the Daily Collegian]. She came in carrying a notebook, and he was going to offer to buy her a drink, like he did for everybody. He was trying to get her to loosen up a little bit. But she said she wasn’t allowed to drink in his presence. He asked the bartender to give her a glass of milk, something like that.

 He was like, “What do you mean you won’t drink anything? You should go to Messiah College.” Or something like that. Just more jokes like that.

I don’t think he was really trying to hit on her, I just think he was trying to have an informal thing. He was just trying to get her to take off her reporter hat, just relax a little bit.


Perhaps take off something else, too.

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Rominger attempts to buy a student reporter a drink, pic via Horne's Twitter

During all this, Horne, the managing editor for Onward State, was tweeting updates. He wrote that Rominger was debating whether or not the Collegian reporter was hot. And, this:

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Asked why he was at Zeno’s just hours before a monumental moment in his career, Rominger offered Balis a simple response: “They got Belgian beer, man. What the fuck kind of question is that?” 

I asked Balis if anyone gave Rominger a hard time – since, you know, he’s defending the worst person on earth – but Balis said it was all cordial. The bartender at Zeno's knew Rominger, a frequent patron, and joked that he wouldn’t wish him luck at sentencing, but that it was “nice to see” him.

Everyone left the bar sometime around midnight. Balis walked home whilst some of his friends lingered outside the establishment.

Including Rominger. 

Balis, who buried the lede in our conversation, told me that Horne and others wound up living mas with Sandusky’s lawyer – now roughly nine hours away from sentencing – when the group crossed the border for some late-night munchies… at Taco Bell.

“Do you want to call Kevin?” Balis asked. “He was at Taco Bell with Rominger.”

Do I want to call Kevin and ask him what happened after midnight at Taco Bell with Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer just hours before the sentencing hearing? Is Big Bird in grave danger?! OF COURSE I WANT TO TALK TO KEVIN! 

I called Horne.

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Jerry Sandusky Sentenced to 30-60 Years in Jail

Kyle Scott - October 9, 2012

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via (@TimGilb)

Papa Jer was sentenced to not less than 30 years and not more than 60 years in prison, with credit for time served. That's significantly less than the maximum he was facing, but it probably won't matter. Judge Cleland described his decision thusly:

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Sandusky, 68, would be eligible to get out of jail when he’s 98. So, his sentence is, in effect, a life sentence. 

In the courtroom, Sandusky reportedly repeated “I did not do these disgusting acts.” Several victims spoke, quite colorfully, about the damage Sandusky inflicted upon them.

Sandusky's terrible lawyers will appeal– they think they weren't given enough time to prepare for the trial.

via CNN, Patriot News

Jerry Sandusky Releases Statement From Jail, Blames Accusers

Kyle Scott - October 8, 2012

image from

Papa Jer will speak at his sentencing hearing tomorrow. But tonight, PSU ComRadio obtained an exclusive audio statement from Sandusky. He admitted no wrongdoing and claimed to only have one sexual partner since marriage– his wife.  The full translation via, with notable parts bolded, for your reading ire:

"I’m responding to the worst loss of my life. First, I looked at myself. Over and over, I asked why? Why didn’t we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial? Why have so many people suffered as a result of false allegations? What’s the purpose? Maybe it will help others; some vulnerable children who could be abused, might not be because of all the publicity. That would be nice, but I’m not sure about it. I would cherish the opportunity to become a candle for others, as they have been a light for me. They could take away my life, they could make me out as a monster, they could treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner that was after marriage. Our love continues. A young man who was dramatic a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won. I’ve wondered what they really won: Attention, financial gain, prestige… will all be temporary. Before you blame me, as others have, look at everything and everybody. Look at the preparation for the trial and the trial. Compare it to others. Think about what happened. Why, and who made it happen? Evaluate the accusers and their families. Realize they didn’t come out of isolation. The accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. Look at their confidants and their honesty. Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention and potential perks. I never labeled or put down them or their families. I tried and I cared, then asked for the same. Please realize all came to the Second Mile because of issues. Some of those may remain. We will continue to fight. We didn’t lose the proven facts, evidence, accurate locations and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me. We must fight unfairness and consistency and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are. We’ve not been complainers. When we couldn’t have kids, we adopted. When we didn’t have time to prepare for a trial, we still gave it our best. We will fight for another chance. We have given many second chances, and now we’ll ask for one. It will take more than our effort. Justice will have to be more than just a word; fairness more than just a dream. It will take others: somebody apolitical with the courage to listen, to think about the unfairness, to have the guts to stand up and take the road less traveled. I ask for the strength to handle everything and willingness to surrender only to God, regardless of the outcome."

You can listen to the audio here.

Greg Bucceroni is on Dr. Phil and the Cover of the Daily News Today

Kyle Scott - September 28, 2012

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Last month, I interviewed Greg Bucceroni, the school police officer (and apparent former mobster) who claims that he was abused from 1977-1980 by powerful Philadelphia businessman Ed Savitz, who died of AIDS while awaiting trial for doing all sorts of vile things to young boys. Bucceroni says that Savitz took nude photos of him and tried to pimp him out to Jerry Sandusky. 

Bucceroni has spoken to many media outlets – some independent, some mainstream – about his alleged abuse. He claims that Ed Rendell and other famous and infamous men covered up a massive child sex ring involving Savitz, Sandusky and others. [Rendell, Bucceroni says, received campaign contributions from Savitz.] 

Parts of his story are believable, other parts – specifically, the accusations against politicians and other notables – seem far-fetched. 

Today, Bucceroni will tell the story on Dr. Phil. Here’s a preview of the show:


Bucceroni is also the subject of a Daily News cover story, which basically calls him a liar. 

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Specifically, the story’s writer, William Bender, finds that Bucceroni’s claims about Rendell (the DN story cites what Bucceroni told me– that he wanted to put a fucking bullet in Rendell's head), mobsters, cops, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and others, don’t check out: []

These only scratch the surface of Bucceroni's latest allegations. None of it checks out.

Bucceroni says he told Rendell about Savitz's abuse when Rendell was D.A. in the late '70s or early '80s. Rendell said Bucceroni is lying.

"That guy is completely crazy. I don't know anything about what he's talking about, and none of it's true," Rendell said. "The guy is just crackers."

Bucceroni says that he contacted senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan, who prosecuted the Sandusky case, in July and that McGettigan was "rude and obnoxious" and tried to talk him into giving false testimony.

"That's an absolute lie," McGettigan said. He said he doesn't know Bucceroni and doesn't recall ever speaking with him.

"The story keeps evolving and changing," said Sara Ganim, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Patriot-News reporter who broke the Sandusky story. Ganim said Bucceroni contacted her over the summer with new allegations, but couldn't provide details. Bucceroni has since been harassing her by email and with vulgar tweets, Ganim said.

"I asked him for the names of other guys in the pedophile ring, and he said he could only remember first names," Ganim said. "Now he can remember all these famous pedophiles?"

Ralph Cipriano, a former Inquirer reporter who interviewed Bucceroni for his book The Hit Man, about Philly mobster John Veasey, said he considered Bucceroni to be "spectacularly unreliable" and cut him from the book because "his facts did not seem to be reality-based."

A federal law-enforcement source familiar with Bucceroni said he is not considered credible.

"He runs around grabbing headlines," said a close relative. "That's what I think this is. Somebody needs to out him. It's not fair to the real victims."

The relative said that Bucceroni's "family is beside itself."


I agree with most of that skepticism. Here’s what I wrote in my post last month:

Bucceroni’s biographical information checks out, too. He is, in fact, who he says he is. Records show that he works as a police officer for a charter school in the city (so does the Google machine) and that he’s part of an anti-crime task force. His brother, Kevin, is the school board president in Blackwood.

But, then there are the somewhat fantastical portions of Bucceroni's story.

He was involved in mob activities until around the time he was 18, when he joined the military. He not only claims to have met Sandusky, but also to have met, worked with, or been involved in situations surrounding Mumia Abu-Jamal and the cop he was convicted of killing in 1981, Daniel Faulkner. And Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke, of Goodfellas fame. It’s a lot to digest and, if true, would make Bucceroni the Forrest Gump of unfortunate encounters. But perhaps it’s all plausible for someone involved with the mafia around that time.


The mob ties and crazy stories about being involved with such notorious criminals cast doubt on everything else Bucceroni says, and every accusation he makes. Again, the Forrest Gump thing.

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Touch: Malcolm Gladwell on Jerry Sandusky

Kyle Scott - September 20, 2012

In today’s must-read stories: I’d suggest you spend some time with Malcolm Gladwell as he deconstructs Jerry Sandusky. Surprisingly, Gladwell didn’t liken Jer to a Jewish lawyer from New York, or blame his tendencies on his inability to spend time with computer terminals at the University of Washington. Instead, this: [New Yorker]

We now know what Sandusky was really doing with the Second Mile. He was setting up a pipeline of young troubled boys. Just as important, though, he was establishing his bona fides. Psychologists call this “grooming”—the process by which child molesters ingratiate themselves into the communities they wish to exploit. “Many molesters confirmed that they would spend anywhere from two to three years getting established in a new community before molesting any children,” van Dam writes. One pedophile she interviewed would hang out in bars, looking for adults who seemed to be having difficulties at home. He would lend a comforting ear, and then start to help out. 


It’s long, but worth your time. Or your lunch break. Read it here.

I’d also highly recommend you swing by the Malcolm Gladwell book generator to see what’s on the horizon from Gladwell:

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Al Pacino May Play Joe Paterno in a Movie

Kyle Scott - September 8, 2012

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So when you casted that Penn State movie in your head, did you have Al Pacino as candidate to play Joe Pa? I did. reports that Pacino may play Paterno in a movie that is currently being shopped in Hollywood based on Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski’s recent biography, Paterno. More:

The narrative arc of the movie that will be shopped is obvious. A man becomes the winningest coach in college football history and builds a powerhouse football program that turns him into a campus deity. When his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is revealed to be a pedophile and it comes out Paterno was told and helped hide the scandal, the coach was summarily fired.


Interestingly, the first movie to be made here could focus on Paterno, not the Sandusky allegations themselves. From a storytelling perspective, that might be the better feature film – hero coach turned enemy – instead of a near docudrama about the facts surrounding Sandusky and his crimes (that might be better reserved for TV). admits that it’s still very early in the process, so don’t expect to see the movie anytime soon. If it gets made at all. The real challenge, I suppose, will be filming it before Pacino joins Joe Pa at the big crusty, Italian guy lounge in the sky.

Joe Amendola to Admit He’s Pretty Much Worst Attorney in the World

Kyle Scott - September 5, 2012

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This story, case and saga will never go away, but the worst attorney in the world, Joe Amendola, might.

Well, sort of.

Speaking to Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim, Amendola said he will testify that he’s too inadequate to work on Jerry Sandusky’s appeal:

By the end of the year, Amendola will have stepped aside from the Sandusky case.

His plan is to sacrifice his ego, take the stand and declare himself an ineffective attorney in an attempt to help his client get a new trial.

It’s a tactic he has used before. A few years ago, after losing a rape case, he hired a Philadelphia attorney to handle the appeal, took the stand and called himself incompetent to help the 20-something college student who had been convicted.

Becoming a witness in the case means he will no longer be Sandusky’s attorney.


Well! Welcome to the world, Joe. 

Not that he wasn’t handed one of the most unwinnable cases ever, but from the outset it was clear that Amendola was in over his head. That thought was hammered home when, just moments after his client got put away for likely the rest of his life, Joe was a bucket of chuckles with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

And – here comes the big prestige – Amendola wants to… wait for it… keep waiting… almost there… be on TV!

It might be the right time to try something new.

“Legal consultant,” he says, containing a smirk. “For a network.”

He’s talking about the “talking heads” who called him a moron, who criticized him for his decisions and tactics throughout the Sandusky case.

“That probably is the most appealing thing so far, because it removes all the nonsense,” he said. “I think I make sense when I try to explain things. Journalists would say, ‘Enough already, Joe. Enough with the talking.’ But I answered the questions.”

A contract with a network could give him time to teach on the side. Maybe even have time to write a book.

It’s at the top of his mental list.


We didn’t see this coming. No, the press conferences, media parties, and general buffoonery were clearly about getting his client off the hook, not about making Joe Amendola a household name. Clearly. 


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Unfortunate Lyric Leads PSU To Discontinue Use Of “Sweet Caroline” During Football Games

Ryan Gillon - August 27, 2012

(Photo: Barbara Popek)

First, Penn State made the decision to make slight alterations to the current uniforms. For the first time in history, names of the players will be featured on the back of the jerseys. Now, another change is being made in light of the recent events at Penn State.
The school will discontinue its use of "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, namely because of the lyrics in the song. Sounds kind of odd to nix a Neil song for lyrical content, but considering the sensitivity surrounding PSU, there is one lyric that could potentially ruffle feathers, and the university isn't taking any chance.
Dan Duquette Jr. of NESN elaborates on an article from the Altoona Mirror:
The school is discontinuing its tradition of singing "Sweet Caroline" during games due to concerns raised by school officials in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to The Altoona Mirror. In particular, the school was worried that the "touching me, touching you" lyrics of the song would be pereceived as inappropriate in the wake of PSU's child sex abuse scandal.
Smart move in my opinion. It seems small, but I'm picturing that moment on Saturday when everyone at Beaver Stadium looks at each other uncomfortably after singing that lyric at the top of their lungs…
The Altoona Mirror article highlights a number of other gameday changes the university has made in a piece called "Tweaking the Tradition". Worth a read.
The Nittany Lions kick off their 2012 season Saturday at 12:00 pm against Ohio.
You can follow Ryan Gillon on Twitter @SeriouslyRyan