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Judge in Jerry Sandusky case won't delay sex-abuse trial

May 21, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Jerry Sandusky, center, a former Penn State assistant football coach, faces 52 counts of sex abuse against children. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to start June 5 in Centre County, Pa.
Jerry Sandusky, center, a former Penn State assistant football coach,… (Alex Brandon/ Associated…)

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach now charged with child sex abuse, will get his day in court as scheduled, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a second defense request to delay the trial.

In a bare-bones denial of the most recent defense motion, Judge John Cleland threw cold water on the defense effort to delay the start of the trial. Defense attorney Joe Amendola had asked for the delay on May 9, arguing that he needed more time to provide a proper defense.

In his statement, Cleland simply wrote "motion denied,” giving no explanation for his action. Jury selection is scheduled to start June 5 in Centre County, Pa.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. Some of the boys were clients of a charity that Sandusky founded, and some of the alleged incidents of abuse took place at Penn State University, where Sandusky would bring the boys on the occasional field trip.

It was on one such trip that Sandusky was seen by a graduate assistant coach showering with a boy, according to a later grand jury investigation. The assistant went to football head coach Joe Paterno; he took the incident to his bosses, including university President Graham Spanier.

University trustees eventually fired Paterno, who was the face of Penn State football for decades, and Spanier. Trustees said both men should have done more, including contacting police. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.

Two other school officials still face criminal charges in connection with the scandal. As part of the defense argument for a delay, Amendola had argued that he needed more time because the charged administrators would not testify while their cases are continuing.

Gary Schultz, a retired Penn State vice president for business and finance, and Tim Curley, the university's athletic director now on leave, are accused of perjury and failing to properly report suspected child abuse. Their lawyers have informed Amendola that they will refuse to testify in the Sandusky case if subpoenaed.

In addition to denying the defense motion for a delay, Cleland issued an order that requires defense lawyers to provide prosecutors with any expert reports they plan to use by May 30.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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