Penn State coach asks judge to throw out child abuse case
HARRISBURG, (Pennsylvania), March 23 — A lawyer representing the former Penn State University assistant football coach accused of child abuse yesterday asked a judge to dismiss all 52 charges against him because the prosecutor failed to turn over detailed information needed to defend him.
Attorney Joe Amendola, whose client Jerry Sandusky is accused of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, raised questions specifically about the validity of charges tied to three of the boys — identified only as Victim 2, Victim 6 and Victim 8.
The sex abuse scandal rocked the world of college football and led to the dismissal of Penn State’s legendary coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier. Paterno died in January.
Sandusky, 68, who has maintained his innocence on all 52 criminal counts of abuse, remains under house arrest.
His lawyer said charges tied to Victim 2 should be dismissed as hearsay because prosecutors “cannot sustain these charges at trial simply based upon the testimony of (former Penn State graduate assistant) Michael McQueary.”
A grand jury reported that the graduate student saw a naked Sandusky performing anal intercourse on Victim 2, a boy about 10-years-old, in the locker room showers at Penn State in 2002. That victim remains unidentified.
Amendola further argued there is not enough evidence to back up the allegations by Victim 6, who the grand jury said was about 7-years-old when a naked Sandusky took him into the same showers, soaped him up and bearhugged him from behind in 1998. His mother later confronted Sandusky about the incident.
But the grand jury said it was unable to subpoena Victim 6, now age 24, because he was in the military and stationed outside the United States.
The charges tied to Victim 8 should be dropped, Amendola said, because the only “purported eyewitness” is “incapable of testifying.”
The grand jury report said a janitor saw a young boy identified only as Victim 8 pinned up against the shower wall by Sandusky, who was performing oral sex on him in 2000. The grand jury said the janitor is now suffering from dementia, living in a nursing home and incompetent to testify.
In a 95-page petition to Centre County Court, Amendola argued the entire case should be tossed because the prosecution has failed to deliver specific information about Sandusky’s accusers and the times of the alleged offenses.
“The Defendant submits his due process rights ... will be violated if he is forced to proceed to trial ... because he cannot adequately prepare and present a defence to those charges due to the lack of specificity contained therein,” Amendola said in court papers.
Amendola has attempted to get more precise information from the state attorney general’s office over the past few months by petitioning Judge John Cleland. The judge, however, has dismissed Amendola’s queries as moot because, he said, prosecutors have no more information to provide.
Should the court deny Amendola’s motions, he is asking for the trial to be delayed. Jury selection is now slated to begin on May 14. — Reuters