Bears

Shower abuse victim suing Penn State

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Shower abuse victim suing Penn State

From Comcast SportsNet

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- For months, the identity of the boy who was sexually assaulted in the locker-room showers by Jerry Sandusky was one of the biggest mysteries of the Penn State scandal. Now, for the first time, a man has come forward publicly to claim he was that boy, and is threatening to sue the university.

The man's lawyers said Thursday they have done an extensive investigation and gathered "overwhelming evidence" on details of the abuse by Sandusky, the former assistant football coach convicted of using his position at Penn State and as head of a youth charity to molest boys over a period of 15 years.

Jurors convicted Sandusky last month of offenses related to so-called Victim 2 largely on the testimony of Mike McQueary, who was a team graduate assistant at the time and described seeing the attack.

"Our client has to live the rest of his life not only dealing with the effects of Sandusky's childhood sexual abuse, but also with the knowledge that many powerful adults, including those at the highest levels of Penn State, put their own interests and the interests of a child predator above their legal obligations to protect him," the lawyers said in a news release.

They did not name their client, and The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sex crimes without their consent.

The university said it was taking the case seriously but would not comment on pending litigation.

University President Rodney Erickson and the board of trustees, a school spokesman said, "have publicly emphasized that their goal is to find solutions that rest on the principle of justice for the victims."

The statement from the man's attorneys said Victim 2 suffered "extensive sexual abuse over many years both before and after the 2001 incident Michael McQueary witnessed."

McQueary testified in December at a hearing that he had seen Sandusky and a boy, both naked, in a team shower after hearing skin-on-skin slapping sounds.

"I would have described that it was extremely sexual and I thought that some kind of intercourse was going on," McQueary said.

McQueary reported the abuse to school officials, including Paterno, but none of them told police. In a recent report conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and commissioned by Penn State, the investigators excoriated Paterno and the other administrators for not attempting to identify Victim 2, saying it showed "a striking lack of empathy."

Trustees fired Paterno, who has since died, because he failed to do more about claims against Sandusky, and the scathing independent review said several top school officials looked the other way because they were afraid of bad publicity. The NCAA has vacated 112 Penn State wins.

In a pair of voicemails recorded last year, released with the statement and posted online by the lawyers, a voice that's purportedly Sandusky's expresses his love and says he wants to express his feelings "up front."

The voicemails are dated Sept. 12 and Sept. 19, less than two months before the former Penn State coach was arrested on child sex abuse charges. Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 sex abuse counts and awaits sentencing.

The second voicemail asks whether Victim 2 would like to attend Penn State's next game.

Sandusky left "numerous" voicemails for their client that fall, the attorneys said.

Before the trial, defense attorney Joe Amendola said he had met with a man he believed he might be Victim 2 and the man told him he had not been abused by Sandusky. Amendola said he was not convinced and did not intend to subpoena him, but also said Sandusky himself was insistent they had the right person.

The statement from Victim 2's lawyers leaves many questions unanswered, including whether he had been in contact with prosecutors before or during the trial, whether he remembers McQueary, and whether he is the same person who met with Amendola.

"Jerry Sandusky's abuse of Victim 2 and other children is a direct result of a conspiracy to conceal Sandusky's conduct and the decisions by top Penn State officials that facilitated and enabled his access to victims," the statement read. "We intend to file a civil lawsuit against Penn State University and others and to hold them accountable for the egregious and reckless conduct that facilitated the horrific abuse our client suffered."

The statement did not say when the lawsuit would be filed or contain details on what redress the plaintiff is seeking. The lawyers said they would not have further comment, and messages left for their spokesman were not immediately returned.

Several messages seeking comment from Amendola and Sandusky's other lawyer, Karl Rominger, were not immediately returned.

Prosecutors had said on several occasions they did not know the identity of the boy, and they offered no reaction to the lawyers' announcement Thursday.

"We can't comment, given both our ongoing criminal prosecutions and our ongoing investigation," said Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the attorney general's office.

The attorneys who released the statement include several based in Philadelphia and in State College, home to Penn State's main campus -- where the shower assault took place.

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive Line

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive Line

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Medium

Decisions to be made on: Mitch Unrein (free agent), John Jenkins (free agent)

Possible free agent targets: Jared Crick, Frostee Rucker, Dominique Easley

This unit was consistently the Bears’ best in 2017, with Akiem Hicks playing at a Pro Bowl level (don’t let his exclusion from the game fool you on that) and Eddie Goldman putting together a rock-solid, healthy year. 

Hicks signed a four-year contract extension just before the season began and rewarded the Bears with a dominant year, racking up 8 ½ sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. Goldman played in and started 15 games and was a key reason why the Bears limited opposing rushers to four yards per carry, tied for the 10th-best average in the league. 

But while the Bears’ defensive line was certainly good, it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. These words from Vic Fangio ring true for Hicks and Goldman:

“I think they all have a lot more to give to us than we’ve seen,” Fangio said. “And it’s our job to get them to improve and become even better players. That will be more important to us than anybody we can acquire between now and whenever our first game is. So, and I know it’s always sexy to talk between now and the first game, you know, who are you going to draft, who’s in free agency, etc., but we’ve got to get our so-called good players playing even better. And that will be critical.”

Hicks will enter Year 3 in Fangio’s scheme, while 2018 will be Goldman’s fourth. It’ll also be a critical year for Jonathan Bullard and Roy Robertson-Harris, who’ve flashed potential at times but haven’t been able to turn that into consistent success on the field. 

And that’s where we begin to look ahead to free agency and the draft. Is the Bears’ evaluation of Bullard -- their 2016 third-round pick -- positive enough to hand him a bigger role in 2018? That’s question No. 1 to answer, with No. 2 then being if the team should try to re-sign Mitch Unrein. 

It may be a bit risky to move forward with Bullard, given how popular Unrein was among the Bears’ defensive coaching staff. 

“He’s one of the glue guys on the defense and the team,” Fangio said last November. “Every team needs a few of those guys who are going to do everything right, full speed, hard and tough all the time, and that’s Mitch.”

Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers offered this up about Unrein back in October: “He allows those guys to play fast,” with “those guys” being Hicks and Goldman. 

Statistically, the 30-year-old Unrein doesn’t  jump off the page, but he did record a career high 2 ½ sacks in 2017. Perhaps there would be some benefits to continuity in the Bears’ base 3-4 defensive line.

Worth noting too is this position isn’t a huge need, given Unrein usually played between 40 and 55 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps on a per-game basis last year. Keeping Unrein for a relatively low cap hit would make some sense, as opposed to testing free agency to replace him.

Jared Crick is coming off back surgery and an ineffective 2016; Dominique Easley is coming off his third torn ACL this decade; Frostee Rucker is in his mid-30’s. The Bears could look to pick a 3-4 defensive end in April, but that would be a pretty quick re-draft of the position and would be an indication they don’t think much of Bullard. This seems like a position where keeping the status quo is likely, save maybe for replacing John Jenkins with a different backup behind Goldman. 
 

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

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AP

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

There were no Lakers or Clippers in the 2018 All-Star Game, but Los Angeles was well-represented with plenty of homegrown talent, plenty of historians with Los Angeles ties and all the pageantry L.A. can provide.

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and James Harden are among the All-Stars who came home to put on the biggest show of entertainment the league has to offer, and the new format featuring captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry produced one of the most competitive finishes in recent All-Star history as the spectacle wasn’t lost on DeRozan, who plays for the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.

“It was a dream come true,” DeRozan said. “I’ll forever be a part of this, and to come out and be a starter in my hometown, it was a dream come true.”

With Chicago hosting the event in 2020, one wonders if the city or the Bulls will be as represented.

“What better time to do it than in Chicago?” Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen said about his aspirations of being an All-Star sooner rather than later.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, to this point, is the only Chicagoan carrying the torch as an All-Star. For years, Chicago could claim their homegrown talent rivaled the likes of Los Angeles and New York, the self-proclaimed “Mecca”.

But now they’ve fallen behind in the way of star power, as Derrick Rose has gone from MVP to one of the biggest “what if” stories in modern-day sports. Jabari Parker was expected to be next in line but his future as a star is murky due to the same dreaded injury bug.

“I didn’t know that. But there’s a lot of great players (from Chicago),” Davis said Saturday during media availability. “Jabari is just coming back, Derrick is going through what he’s going through. That’s fine. D-Wade is getting older. We have a lot of great guys. Guys have been hurt, in D-Wade’s case he’s just getting up there in age now (laughs).”

Davis is arguably the league’s most versatile big man, keeping the New Orleans Pelicans afloat while DeMarcus Cousins is out with an Achilles injury. He’s had to watch the likes of George deal with free agent questions about the prospect of coming home to L.A., even after he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

It still hasn’t stopped the chants from Lakers fans, panting after George in the hope he’ll be a savior of sorts. And even though his contract isn’t up for another few seasons, teams are lining up in the hope they can acquire him through free agency or trade.

It could very well be him getting the chants when the All-Star party comes to Chicago and he could be joined by the likes of Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the big game.

LaVine was in Los Angeles for the weekend and Markkanen opened eyes around the league with his showing in the rising stars game as well as the skills challenge.

Davis could wind up being the object of everyone’s affection and could find himself being recruited by the likes of LaVine.

Even though 2021 is a long way away, a guy can dream, right?

“I mean, I’m cool with a lot of dudes in the NBA. I feel like I’m a likeable guy,” LaVine told NBCSportsChicago.com about recruiting star players to the Bulls franchise. “I can talk about situations like that, it would be my first time being put in a position. It would be a little bit different but I think I can handle it.”

LaVine has his own contract situation to take care of this summer, being a restricted free agent but understands the Bulls’ salary cap position and their long-term goals.

“Yeah I think once the offseason comes and everybody settles down, and I’m comfortable, and I know the position I’ll be in,” LaVine said to NBCSportsChicago.com.

“I think we’ll start having those conversations because we want to get the franchise back to where it was, on that high plateau. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m trying to solidify myself in the league to a certain degree. Once you start reaching those points you can talk to anybody to get to where you want to get to.”

LaVine attended several events over the weekend and shared the same space as several All-Stars in non-media settings. It’s easy to see why he would think he could have that affect with his peers.

Being careful about the rules on tampering, he said about a potential sit-down with Davis, “I would bring some Harold’s chicken to the meeting and we’ll be all good.”