February 10, 2012
Sandusky trial tentatively set for May 14
By The Sports Xchange
A judge Friday announced a tentative trial date of May 14 for Jerry Sandusky, while also saying he would consider Sandusky’s request to see his grandchildren and have more freedom. Prosecutors argued for stricter restrictions on Sandusky’s bail, while the former Penn state defensive coordinator awaits the trial for 52 counts of sexual abuse of minors, saying his home is not safe for children and his presence on his porch upsets children in a neighboring school.
Sandusky, who smiled and laughed during the hearing at times, according to The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News, also spoke to reporters outside the courthouse. Accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over the span of 15 years, Sandusky, who has denied the charges, lamented the fact he could no longer visit with friends after opening his home to “all kinds of people” and that he could not throw biscuits to his dog on his back porch.
Sandusky also acknowledged in the hearing that his lawyer’s desire to keep the jury in Centre County would keep him from later filing an appeal claiming bias, if approved. Prosecutors have requested a jury from outside the county, saying residents’ close ties to Penn State and emotional reaction to the fallout from the case could create conflicts.
Judge John M. Cleland did not rule Friday on either the potential bail restriction changes or the jury issue.
Sandusky and his attorney, Joseph Amendola, have asked for his grandchildren to be allowed visits and for Sandusky to be allowed to occasionally visit friends and leave his house for work on the case.
But prosecutors countered that Sandusky should not even be allowed on his back porch, as an employee of nearby Lemont Elementary School testified Friday about concerns when children have spotted Sandusky on his porch from the school.
Defense attorneys produced letters and notes from Sandusky’s children and grandchildren requesting the right to visit, despite his bail order barring contact with anyone under 18. Prosecutors argued that one of Sandusky’s daughter-in-laws voiced a strong objection to such visitation.
While Sandusky later told reporters his home “has been open for 27 years to all kinds of people,” state prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach expressed concern about the same home during the hearing.
“This home was not safe for children for 15 years, and it’s not safe for children now,” Eshbach said, according to The Patriot-News.