Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky,… (Gene J. Puskar/ Associated…)
The judge in the Jerry Sandusky trial on Tuesday ordered prosecutors to turn over the telephone numbers and addresses of those who say they were sexually abused by the former Penn State football coach, so that the defense can seek them out before the trial.
The ruling comes as both sides are fighting through the pretrial stage in the closely watched case, which is scheduled for court in mid-May. Sandusky, 68, is charged with more than 50 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. The case led to the firing of Joe Paterno, the iconic football coach at Penn State, and of Graham Spanier, the university president.
Last week, the defense argued that it needed the telephone numbers and addresses of Sandusky's accusers to seek out potential witnesses in the case. Defense lawyers also sought any psychological evaluations of the former children.
Judge John Cleland did not rule on that part of the defense request but gave the prosecution another week to argue that the psychological documents, if they exist, are protected by state privilege laws and should remain confidential. If the judge authorizes the transfer of the reports, they would be delivered under seal to the defense, which would be limited to reading them until seeking further approval from the judge.
The state is not required to disclose any adjudications on the former children’s drug or alcohol use, the judge ruled. The defense had sought such information, which could be used in questioning any witnesses against Sandusky.
In seeking the psychological reports, the defense was also hoping to use the information to raise questions about some of the reported victims. Defense attorney Joe Amendola has said he believes that the grand jury, which investigated the case, found that Sandusky had not abused one of the boys, even though the child’s mother complained to authorities.
In his order, Cleland held that requests for grand jury information must first be made to the judge who oversees the panel. If that judge says grand jury confidentiality prevents the release, Cleland wrote, then he intends to adhere to that decision. Otherwise, Cleland said, he will reconsider the defense request.
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