At Jerry Sandusky's Request, John Ziegler Summarizes Why He Became Convinced of the Alleged Child Abuser's Innocence

In preparation for him finally shifting his appeal efforts from state to federal court, Jerry Sandusky asked John Ziegler to write a short summary for him of how and why John became convinced of his innocence (though the federal appeals process will have very little to do with the actual facts of the case against him)..

Here is what Ziegler sent him...


Like almost the entire rest of the known world, in November 2011 I assumed that Jerry Sandusky must be at least guilty of most, if not all, of the crimes of sexual abuse with which he was being charged. There just did not seem to be a rational explanation for how so many false allegations could be levied against a man with such a previously great reputation.

However, when I began to dig deeper into the case as a documentary filmmaker interested in whether Joe Paterno and Penn State could have possibly helped Sandusky cover up his crimes (a scenario which was always totally nonsensical, especially given the timeline), it became clear that the path to Sandusky’s total innocence was neither all that long, nor very complicated. In fact, it was shockingly straight-forward and not involving any sort of real conspiracy theory (if anything, the news media’s conventional wisdom of the case was the one which required the massive conspiracy).

The first revelation which made me start to question whether Sandusky may be innocent was that, at the time of his arrest, after a three year investigation by the Attorney General’s office, there were only two men (not boys) who were alleging clear-cut sex acts, while all the others were claiming acts of “grooming” which could have theoretically been exaggerated or misunderstood. Therefore, the case really came down to those two allegations of sex acts (“Victim 1” and “Victim 4”) and the lone witness in the case, Mike McQueary.

Obviously, if any of those three men were telling the full truth, then Sandusky was a pedophile and presumed to be guilty of any similar allegations. However, if those three were NOT telling the truth, then the entire case against him would collapse like a house of cards.

McQueary was always the most important element of the case against Sandusky because he seemed to have the least to gain and the most to lose by making a false allegation. The accusers were clearly going to be paid a lot of money by Penn State if Sandusky was convicted, but there would have been no such expectation by McQueary when he first told his story of “seeing” (actually more like hearing) Sandusky in a shower with a boy.

While McQueary’s narrative never made any sense (mostly because of his total lack of effort to get the boy out of harm’s way), the first time that I began to get the very strong sense that his story was false was several months after Sandusky’s arrest, and not long before his super-rushed trial, when the prosecution was forced to admit that the date of the “McQueary Episode” was VERY wrong. They had claimed in the grand jury presentment that this incident had occurred on March 1, 2002, but were forced to change that date to February 9, 2001 because emails came to light proving that the date of the McQueary/Paterno meeting was February 10, 2001.

This was the single most underrated fact at Sandusky’s trial and it was absolute legal malpractice that the defense made such a minor issue of it. This dramatic thirteen-month change in the date of the most critical episode of the entire case (one of the very few with an actual date) should have, on its own, raised plenty of reasonable doubt about McQueary’s credibility. After all, how is it remotely possible that McQueary could misremember, under oath and after extensive research, the date, the month, and even the year in which this presumably HIGHLY memorable event allegedly occurred?!

However, it would take far too many years before I would discover that even that second date is so catastrophically wrong that it on its own proves that McQueary did NOT witness a sexual assault involving Jerry Sandusky and a “ten-year old boy.” After putting together all of the voluminous evidence, it is now clear that the actual date of the McQueary episode was December 29, 2000, meaning that he waited six weeks before reporting something related to the incident to Joe Paterno on February 10, 2001.

This destroys McQueary’s credibility on multiple levels. First, he got the date VERY wrong twice and in a way that is far more consistent with a blatant lie than a bizarre memory issue which, on its own, should have made people greatly suspect that his account was not reliable, especially all of these many years later.

Secondly, the entire reason that the prosecution presumed that the incident occurred on February 9th, 2001 is that they desperately needed it to be the night before he went to go see Joe Paterno, so that it was clear that he had great urgency to his report. However, there is absolutely  no way to spin “great urgency” from waiting six weeks to report to your boss (not the police) on the day after the wide receiver’s coaching job you greatly wanted just happened to open up on Paterno’s staff.

Combining all of this with the knowledge (which I publicly broke) of the identity of the boy in the shower that night—Allan Myers, who was actually 13-years old and whose actions/words are totally inconsistent with ever having been a Sandusky victim—makes it absolutely impossible for McQueary’s story to be remotely true. NFL legend Franco Harris has told me, unequivocally, that McQueary made it clear to him at Paterno’s funeral that he did NOT witness a sexual assault.

With one pillar of the case now in ruins, that left only one other holding the entire thing together: the stories of “Victim 1” Aaron Fisher and “Victim 4” Brett Houtz. Neither holds up under even the slightest scrutiny.

After over a dozen friends, neighbors, and relatives, including his now ex-wife, of Fisher contacted me to say on the record why they have grave doubts about his claim of abuse, I was pretty certain he was not telling the truth. But what probably was the clincher for me was learning that his former stepdad, Eric Daniels, who had been Aaron’s male authority figure before Sandusky came into his life, had pleaded guilty to 100 counts of child sexual abuse, including of his own children.

While Aaron was not part of that case, his ex-wife make it clear to me that she knew that Aaron had been sexually abused by Daniels (it should be noted that Aaron's own ever-changing timeline for having been abused is often far more consistent with the time Daniels was in his life than it with the Sandusky era). This then created the perfect path for Aaron to be somewhat convincing in his allegation, and for investigators to believe he had been sexually abused, but for Sandusky to have nothing to do with it.

I am relatively certain that Fisher (as well as his very manipulative mother) knows that he was not sexually abused by Sandusky, but I am positive that, regardless of what he currently believes, he was not.

This leaves just Brett Houtz, who just happened to have the very same highly-suspect therapist as Fisher, Mike Gillum. Houtz’s story of being abused in hotel rooms during multiple bowl trips is inherently absurd, especially with Dottie Sandusky as a witness who directly contradicts his claim, but how he came to tell investigators of his abuse is even more suspicious.

With a plaintiffs lawyer (who would make many millions of dollars from the Sandusky case) mysteriously by his side during his police interview, Houtz at first is extremely hesitant to make a claim of direct sexual abuse. But then, in an exchange accidently recorded by mistake, the investigators and his lawyer effectively conspired to lie to Houtz about the nature of the evidence against Sandusky, thus making Houtz feel comfortable that HE would not be the one who put Sandusky behind bars (prosecutors would refer to him, after the trial, in a telling slap at Aaron Fisher, as their star witness) and it was only then that he finally spun a tale of direct/clear-cut sexual abuse.

Upon closer inspection there are all sorts of problems with Houtz’s allegations, just as there are with all of those against Sandusky. Where there should be lots of evidence, there is none. No pornography, no drugs, no alcohol, no payoffs, no physical evidence, no physical attacks in either direction, no plea bargain, no confession, along with a never-ending series of appeals despite a lack of monetary and political resources.

It is highly probable that there has never been another serial child sexual-abuser in modern history whose case fit all of those descriptions. That is because Jerry Sandusky is not an abuser of children, but a very obviously innocent man who was railroaded by a perfect storm of remarkable circumstances far beyond his control, or even understanding.