A Donation Leads To Trouble For Ex-Penn State Player [AUDIO]
When Toms River resident Sam Stellatella heard his old coach was being investigated by a grand jury last April for unknown charges, Stellatella sent Jerry Sandusky $100 donation to help with his anticipated defense fund. Little did he know where he good intentions would lead.
Stellatella, a three-position player in the 1950s, donated money to Sandusky’s defense and urged other former players to do the same.
“I told him he’s going to need a million dollars to defend himself,” the 73-year-old Stellatella said. “He called me back and said, ‘What am I going to do with this money?’ I said, ‘Use it for your lawyer because you’re going to need it.’”
Stellatella, a former Manchester teacher and Lacey football coach, sent Sandusky $100. He wrote personal letters to other members of the 1959 Liberty Bowl team that defeated a Bear Bryant-coached Alabama team and asked they also donate. He does not know how much money was raised.
“I know some of the guys sent money,” he told The Associated Press. “Here’s the thing, these are horrendous charges against him. But he’s still entitled to his day in court. Everybody’s prejudged him. He’s done horrendous damage to Paterno and (athletic director Tim) Curley and the football program. I don’t listen to the news and I don’t read the reports of what he did because I would get too upset.
“But he’s still entitled to his day in court.”
Stellatella told the Asbury Park Press that when he spoke to the Associated Press’ Dan Gelston he was not aware of the full extent of the charges against Sandusky and calls them “horrific.” He told the Press that “Everyone that has been connected to this story has been destroyed. Sandusky is a one-man weapon of mass destruction.’’
The misunderstanding has caused Stellatella’s godson to “disown” him and caused people to question his judgement and garnered him attention in the sports media nationwide.
“Sandusky was a legend. The creator of Linebacker U.,’’ explained Stellatella to the Asbury Park Press. “He founded a charity to help poor kids and had his own foster children. He was considered by just about everyone to be a saint. That’s who I donated to. Not a pedophile.’’
Stellatella called into Bob Levy’s Topic A on WOBM on Sunday to explain his side of the story. Listen to the full interview below.