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Sex Abuse Attorney Jeff Herman Discusses Sandusky Verdict on MSNBC

Ed: …leaving. This was earlier tonight and I thought he was shaking his head “no” there. Listen to some of the questions.


Interviewer 1: Jerry, do you have anything to say to the victim?

Interviewer 2: Jerry what do you…

Interviewer 1: Do you have anything….

Interviewer 2: …have to say about the verdict?

Interviewer 1: …to say to the victim?

Man: [inaudible 00:00:10]

Interviewer 1: Do you have anything to say to the victim?

Man: [inaudible 00:00:13] Good.

Ed: The Associated Press reporting tonight that it will be three months before the sentencing takes place. Joining me now from Las Vegas is Jeff Herman. An attorney who specializes in representing sexual abuse victims. Mr. Herman, thank you for your time tonight. How hard is it for these victims to come forward? And do they feel strength in numbers in a case like this? There were eight of them that testified in this case, take us down that road. How hard is it for them to come forward?

Jeff: Well right, it’s very difficult. The nature of the grooming process. which is how these predators find their victims and bring them along and ultimately abuse them. Is such that victims are compliant, they’re not consenting but they’re compliant victims. Ninety percent of all kids that are sexually abused are abused by somebody they know. And so it’s difficult, it’s embarrassing, they feel like they’ve done something wrong. And so many of them suffer in silence. But what we saw here, and what we’re seeing really around the country now, is there is this collective empowerment by victims coming forward. And they take this power from each other. And very brave to be able to go into court and stand up and tell their very difficult stories.

Ed: Do you think that Jerry Sandusky was living in a different world? That he thought that he would never be called on the carpet legally for any of his actions?

Jeff: Well I think he was living in that fantasy world I guess of his own up until, you know the charges came to light. I think he knew when he went on Bob Costas and gave that now very never famous interview, he knew he was cooked then. And he was trying to show in the classic pedophile speak that he loved kids. And he had done good things for kids aside from maybe doing some inappropriate things as well.

Ed: Jeff I’d like your critique of Joe Amendola, the defense attorney.

Jeff: Yeah.

Ed: I think that you have been rather critical of him. What was your thought when listening to him tonight?

Jeff: Well I’ve been baffled, you know? And my feelings from the beginning as to the way he was handled. But you know, I guess when you face a mountain of evidence. And in this case it was, to me this verdict was never in doubt. There were so much evidence, so may victims coming forward, and there really was no reasonable defense. Nothing therein they will say that was gonna get him out of this. Especially after he let him go on television and say the things that he did. So I never thought that he was actually going to come in trial and speak in his own behalf. That didn’t surprise me. But to come after this trial, to say that there’s all these innocent people in jail after his client has just been convicted of these horrific crimes. Is a slap in the face to these victims, and to other victims who are suffering in silence. And the result of this I believe, will be that more victims will come forward. Not just of Sandusky, but other victims of abuse that are right now staying quiet.

Ed: Attorney Jeff Herman with us tonight. Thanks so much for your time, Jeff.

Penn State University has released a statement following the conviction of Jerry Sandusky it reads in part, “The legal process has spoken, and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky. But we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing. The Board of Trustees and current administration maintain a steadfast commitment to pursuing the truth regarding Mr. Sandusky’s actions. While we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse. Both in our community and beyond.”

Let’s go to the NBC team on the ground in Pennsylvania. Wes Oliver, NBC legal news, legal analyst. Also with us tonight Michael Isikoff, NBC news National investigative correspondent. And NBC news Ron Allen. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Ron, you first. What is the reaction of the crowd when the Attorney General came out and spoke tonight following this conviction?

Ron: Applause, cheering, and it was very eerie. And it was such a contradiction to a very cold November day, when I came here for the first time when all this was erupting. Back then people were in denial. There was some hostility to the media. They didn’t believe these charges. But tonight, the community welcome this verdict. It’s some sense of closure. It’s a sense of stepping forward and starting to get this behind them. But of course to some extent, it’s…