The lead prosecutor on the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case in Centre County has left
the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office for a position with Berwyn, Pa.-based McAndrews Law Offices P.C., the firm recently announced.
Joseph McGettigan, whose prosecution of Sandusky led to the former assistant Penn State football coach being sent to state prison for between three and six decades, has now entered into private practice with the firm’s founder, Dennis C. McAndrews, an attorney with whom McGettigan worked during the prosecution of John DuPont, who is cited as being the richest murderer in American history.
McAndrews, co-counsel on the DuPont case, said that his firm is “deeply gratified” that McGettigan is joining the suburban firm.
“Joe’s broad experience in working with victims of abuse and crime will be invaluable in our already extensive cases involving child abuse, school bullying of children with disabilities and gender issues, and harm to the disabled and elderly,” McAndrews said in a statement released by his office. “All of these cases involve persons who have been subjected to abuse despite being in the care of responsible adult caretakers, and Joe has extraordinary skills and years of experience in assisting victims of crime and abuse in every conceivable setting.”
Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions, was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in state prison back in October following his June 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sex-abuse.
Sandusky is currently appealing his conviction and sentence.
In the McAndrews statement, McGettigan is quoted as saying that while he was accustomed to prosecuting high profile cases, he never anticipated the extent of the public profile of the Sandusky case.
“Initially, I thought that the publicity would be limited and short-lived,” McGettigan stated. “Sandusky had been long retired from Penn State, and Centre County is removed from major media markets.
“But as I learned all of the disturbing facts of the case, and realized that its full reach went well beyond a single retired coach, the full impact of the case became clearer to everyone.”
In his new position with McAndrews Law Offices, McGettigan will work primarily on cases involving crime victims in organizational or institutional settings, be they youth organizations or religious groups and facilities.
The cases he will specialize in will include the abuse and bullying of children, the disabled and the elderly.
“In addition to his experience and ability, Joe will bring to his cases a compassion for those who have been harmed, and a strong voice advocating for the rights of victims of crime or abuse,” McAndrews said in his statement.
McGettigan for years worked as a prosecutor, serving as First Assistant District Attorney in both Delaware County and the City of Philadelphia, as well as a Chief Deputy in the state Attorney General’s Office, and as an Assistant United States Attorney.
In each of those roles, McGettigan mostly tried cases involving child abuse and murder, according to McAndrews.
In the late 1990s, McGettigan was a co-prosecutor for then-Delaware County District Attorney Patrick Meehan, (now a Republican congressman representing suburban Philadelphia), on the DuPont murder case.
The millionaire, who put forth an insanity defense, was on trial for the murder of Olympic gold medal wrestler David Schultz.
In his statement, McAndrews said he and McGettigan worked closely for a year-and-a-half during the DuPont case.
“I observed firsthand Joe’s skill and commitment in his preparation for trial and his work with victims and witnesses to insure that justice prevailed in the case,” McAndrews stated.
In addition to his work in the U.S., the law firm’s news release states, McGettigan traveled to the Middle East following the fall of Saddam Hussein to help reestablish a criminal justice system in Iraq.
McGettigan is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law.
“I have truly enjoyed my years as a prosecutor,” McGettigan said in his statement. “But the opportunity to work with Dennis, for whom I have the highest professional respect and personal affection, presented just the ideal situation in which to work and continue to help victims.”