Considerable evidence supports that Andrew Shubin is not a credible person, however lawyers Tom Kline, Ben Andreozzi, and Joel Feller also appear to have their own set of ethical shortcomings. Unfortunately, the media often seeks out these lawyers (ambulance chasers) to find out the "truth" about PSU's Sandusky settlements.
With the news continuing to report on PSU's Sandusky settlements, rest assured the usual group of settlement attorneys, Tom Kline, Ben Andreoezzi, and Joel Feller will be featured to discuss the validity of the settlement process.
Unfortunately, the track records of these individuals during the Sandusky case and settlement process show them to be less than forthright.
One of the worst offenders, who seems to be quoted the most often by the media, is attorney Tom Kline. He represented Victim 5 (V5), who happened to be the only victim to make an allegation (i.e., indecent assault) that resulted in a not guilty verdict.
After the first round of settlements, Kline's client reportedly received one of the highest payments because of the date of his abuse was (allegedly) after February 2001 and purportedly could have been prevented.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, Kline said this about the settlement process:
“I’ve been intimately involved in the litigation process, and there are multiple tiers and levels of process involved in evaluating these claims. I can tell you the claims were paid after rigorous vetting and substantiation of a claim.”
The statement couldn't be farther from the truth.
First, the settlement documents state that the claims are not considered valid or invalid.
Figure 1: Excerpt from John Doe A Settlement Document
Next, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who served as Penn State's settlement negotiator, more or less called the process a bargaining session.
"This is a market-driven process. Plaintiffs will demand one thing. Defendants are willing to give another. My job is to present them with facts that can justify them meeting in the middle."
Sources with knowledge of the process stated that one of the primary objectives of the process was to get claimants to accept a payment below the insurance limits. While Kline spoke of trying to make his client "whole", he took the "chump change" (insurance limit) settlement.
Interestingly enough, the final figure was decided at a meeting between Kline, Feinberg, and PSU Board of Trustees member, Ira Lubert.
|Lubert: Unusual interest in Victim 5's settlement?|
As noted earlier, PSU did not consider the claims valid or invalid, but in this instance chose to make a higher payment based on the date, despite the following facts (one which bears repeating):
- V5 was unsure of the date of the incident and gave 1998, November 2000, and August 2001 as possible dates;
- An August date would have placed he and Sandusky in the Lasch Building during pre-season football camp when the likelihood of being unseen by someone would have been very low.
- Judge Cleland stated that child victims whose abuse happened many years ago could not be held to recall the correct date, and;
- V5 was the only victim to make an allegation that was flatly rejected, apparently with little discussion, by the jury. Note that the jury found Sandusky guilty of all the crimes related to an incident that had neither an identified victim nor an eyewitness -- and was based on hearsay!
PSU's likely ulterior motive in the settlement process was to use the court of public opinion to convict Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz of endangering children. It is little wonder that Lubert and Feinberg so easily went along with the 2001 date.
Of course, this was great news to Kline -- but it wasn't the first time that his client's false testimony was allowed to slide.
V5's Sentencing Statement
While the jury didn't buy V5's testimony of the 2001 indecent assault in the Lasch Building, Tom Kline, Judge Cleland, and the media seemingly forgot about that when he took the stand at Sandusky's sentencing hearing.
Apparently, Kline did not inform his client that his victim impact statement should be confined to crimes in which the defendant was convicted -- not those in which he was found not guilty.
Victim 5's impact statement clearly referred the indecent assault which was not believed by the jury.
"Jerry Sandusky lured me into a Penn State sauna and then a shower and then forcibly had me touch him. I am troubled with flashbacks of his naked body. I continue to be haunted by the incident. (I have) anxiety, PTSD, nightmares, and embarrassment and guilt.“
"I will never erase from my mind the filthy images of his naked body, him forcing himself against me and my hands against him. He took away my childhood the day he assaulted me. He should be sentenced accordingly."
Given that the jury found he was not assaulted, it seemingly follows that if this had been a civil trial, rather than PSU's sham settlement process, Victim 5 (and Kline) wouldn't have fared so well.
While the burden of proof in a civil trial is much lower, any competent lawyer would have shown that there was too much uncertainty about the date of the incident to award the payout based on PSU's ability to prevent the incident.
|Kline: Laughing all the way to the bank|
Kline, who recently donated $50 million to Drexel University and will have the law school named after him, was laughing all the way to the bank at how easy the money came from PSU.
Speaking of money, that appeared to be Ben Andreozzi's focus since day one.
On or around the time of the Sandusky trial and settlements, attorney Ben Andreozzi's law firm's name was prominently featured on the web-site of the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate.
Wasn't that convenient?
Andreozzi was one of the first out of the gate to file a lawsuit, however, it was against TSM in order to preserve assets in the case of future civil lawsuits. Interestingly enough, Andreozzi's lawsuit faulted the charity for lack of oversight.
Court documents asserted that TSM was reckless in its hiring, supervision and retention of Sandusky, and negligent when it did not contact law enforcement or child protective services when it learned of sexual abuse accusations. The papers also maintained that the charity failed to properly supervise Sandusky’s one-on-one or overnight activities with the boys he came in contact with through TSM.
Seemingly, all that was forgotten and never spoken of again once Lubert, Feinberg, and friends doled out the settlement money.
After the settlements, Andreozzi shifted the blame to PSU, stating that PSU had been "moving in the right direction" and that it "serves as a model for how institutions can assume some accountability after they make mistakes.”
Andreozzi's inconsistency goes right along with his (lack of) credibility -- and as the evidence reveals, he has some things in common with Andrew Shubin.
Shubin's client, A.M., in his fifth and last interview with investigators, changed his story from being victimized during a trip with Sandusky (to Erie, PA) to his victimization occurring only in the PSU football facilities. It was the fifth different version Shubin's client gave in five attempts. As such, A.M., much like his attorney, Andrew Shubin, was determined not credible by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
Victim 4 (V4), who retained Andreozzi before speaking with the police also alleged that all of the victimization occurred only in the PSU football facilities or at football related events -- not in the Sandusky home or elsewhere.
It is almost certain that V4 was abused in the Sandusky home, just as Victims 3, 7, 9, 10, and others not presented at trial were. However, it appears that in order to obtain the largest settlement possible, Andreozzi kept his client focused on just those crimes allegedly occurring at PSU (because it had the deepest pockets).
Joel Feller is part of the Ross Feller Casey law firm that represented seven Sandusky claimants, including Victims 3, 7, and 10, as well as the person purporting to be Victim 2.
Feller's apparent ethical lapse involves his representation of Victim 10 (V10), whose statements to PSU for the settlements in no way matched his testimony -- or the prosecution's version of his victimization -- at the trial. Here's prosecutor Joseph McGettigan's description of V10's relationship with and victimization by Sandusky.
“…he was a less lengthy congallant (sic)…of the defendant’s but it lasted long enough for the defendant to take him downstairs, in a place he would be with children, and both perform and have oral sex with him.”
In short, McGettigan was describing a single incident that led to Sandusky being convicted on two counts of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI). V10's only other mention of indecent contact with Sandusky allegedly occurred one year earlier when he was groped in a swimming pool during The Second Mile's Summer Challenge camp.
However, the Ross Feller Casey web-site included this posting shortly after the settlement:
In a segment that aired at 11 p.m. Aug. 20, Victim 10 spoke candidly to Action News' Wendy Saltzman about how Sandusky groomed him, how he lavished him with gifts and affection and became a father figure only to molest him dozens of times over three years and then threaten him.
"It occurred on the Penn State campus, it occurred in Jerry's home, in public -- anywhere that he felt he was safe to do that was where he took advantage of me."
Said (Joel) Feller: "These young men are living not only with the fact that they were abused horrifically over a significant period of time.”
It strains credulity that Joel Feller and the rest of the attorneys (including Andrew Shubin) involved in V10's case did not know he had dramatically changed his story from the trial to the settlement discussions.
|Feller: Coached Victim 10 to tell more credible story?|
While it is not unusual for victims to disclose more details about their victimization, V10's testimony at trial reflected the public's stereotype of child molesters, otherwise known as "stranger danger" incidents.
According to the jury foreman, V10s case involved the most deliberations because his testimony did not reflect Sandusky's modus operandi as an acquaintance offender.
It is almost certain that V10 was coached by his legal team to provide a more credible version of events at settlement.
When the next round of settlement news breaks, most assuredly one of these bloodsuckers will show up to comment on the veracity of the process -- even though evidence shows that facts were of little concern to anyone involved in the settlement process.