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Jerry Sandusky Renews Effort To Have Charges Thrown Out


By MARK SCOLFORO   05/16/12 01:21 PM ET  AP

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Jerry Sandusky again asked a judge to throw out the child sexual abuse charges against him on Wednesday, arguing that some counts are too vague to defend and others involve alleged victims whose identities have not been determined.

The former Penn State assistant football coach's trial is scheduled to get under way in less than three weeks, although the judge has not ruled on a separate motion from Sandusky asking for a delay.

In the filing, defense attorney Joe Amendola attacked the charges related to a person described in court records as Victim 2. The boy's encounter with Sandusky in a Penn State locker room a decade ago, and school officials' response to it, ultimately led to the departure of longtime football coach Joe Paterno.

Amendola wrote that the charges related to Victim 2 cannot be sustained based on the testimony of Mike McQueary, an assistant football coach who has said he saw Sandusky sexually abuse the boy in a team shower. McQueary's testimony at a preliminary hearing in December for two Penn State administrators accused of lying to a grand jury and failing to properly report suspected abuse "did not establish sufficient evidence to support these charges being submitted to the jury," Amendola wrote.

The date of that encounter had been listed in court records as March 2002 until last week, when the attorney general's office amended it to February 2001.

Amendola also argued that that prosecutors will not be able to show there was any sexual contact with a boy labeled Victim 6. The boy showered with Sandusky in 1998, authorities said, prompting a complaint by his mother to university police that produced an investigation but no charges.

Amendola told Judge John Cleland that he does not expect prosecutors to be able to "establish that any sexual contact took place" between Sandusky and Victim 6, "and the commonwealth will not be able to establish any criminal intent."

As for so-called Victim 8, allegedly seen in 2000 by Penn State janitor Jim Calhoun being molested by Sandusky, Calhoun suffers from dementia and is not able to testify, according to a report by the grand jury that investigated Sandusky. Amendola argued that will require Calhoun's co-workers to testify about what Calhoun told them, which would amount to hearsay that is not allowed as evidence.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he has repeatedly denied.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the new filing.

Widener University law professor Wes Oliver, who has attended Sandusky court proceedings and followed the case closely, said Amendola presented "substantial arguments" about victims 2, 6 and 8.

"It's possible they could all be gone from this case," he said.

Oliver noted that Amendola did not mention the change of date for the encounter that McQueary reported. He said the date change relates to the credibility of McQueary's account – and credibility is something jurors decide.

"We don't know if the prosecution may not have more evidence that will come in" regarding Victim 2, Oliver said. "All indications are now that it's just McQueary, and McQueary didn't describe something that amounts to any of these crimes" at a preliminary hearing for two Penn State administrators charged with lying to the Sandusky grand jury.

Sandusky's lawyers are apparently running into problems getting information about phone records related to the alleged victims, and Amendola asked Cleland for a court order directing telecom companies to produce material sought by defense subpoenas.

The defense filings on Wednesday also renewed a request for early release of grand jury material, and asked the judge to order prosecutors to respond to 14 supplemental pretrial discovery requests made earlier this month.

Cleland on April 12 dismissed a previous effort by the defense to have the case thrown out, but left the door open for Sandusky's lawyers to re-file. It was not immediately clear how soon the judge might rule on the new motions.

Cleland could have prosecutors file a written response, and schedule oral argument before deciding the matters.

Also pending before Cleland is a request made last week by Amendola to delay the start of trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in Bellefonte with jury selection on June 5.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jerry Sandusky

    Following a three-year investigation, the former Penn State player and assistant coach was <a href="" target="_hplink">indicted</a> on Nov. 4 on 40 counts of sexual crimes against male minors that occurred over the span of more than a decade -- the first alleged recorded incident of abuse <a href="" target="_hplink">dates back to 1994,</a> and Sandusky was first investigated in 1998.. The allegations have rocked Penn State's storied athletic program to its core, raising questions of who in the program knew what -- and how much -- when.

  • Mike McQueary

    <a href="" target="_hplink">McQueary</a> was a graduate assistant at Penn State when he allegedly witnessed coach Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower. Shocked by what he saw, he reported it to head coach Joe Paterno, who then told Athletic Director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz. Ten days after McQueary saw the incident, Curley and Schutlz told him that they were not going to report it to police.

  • Joe Paterno

    The famed Nittany Lions coach was allegedly informed of Sandusky's actions in 2002, after which he reported them to Athletic Director Tim Curley. He claims that he did not know the full extent of Sandusky's actions. In a statement, Paterno said that "the fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling." Joe Paterno <a href="" target="_hplink">passed away from lung cancer </a>on Jan. 22, 2012.

  • Gary Schultz

    The Daily Collegian reports that Penn State senior vice president for finance and business <a href="" target="_hplink">Gary Schultz</a> was known for his family values. However, Schultz allegedly lied to authorities about what he knew in regards to Sandusky's actions, and may have been aware of them for years. He has since resigned from his job. A judge ruled in December that<a href="" target="_hplink"> Schultz and Curley will be tried</a> on charges of lying to a grand jury.

  • Tim Curley

    Penn State's athletic director was informed of Sandusky's misdeeds as early as 2002, but maintains that he was not aware of their explicit nature. He has been charged with failure to report and has been put on administrative leave. He claims he is innocent. A judge ruled in December that<a href="" target="_hplink">Gary Schultz and Curley will be tried</a> on charges of lying to a grand jury.

  • Graham Spanier

    Penn State President Spanier, left, recently wrote to the Penn State Daily Collegian that he believed he had the best job in American education. Now, students and alumni are <a href="" target="_hplink">calling for him to be fired</a> in the wake of horrific sexual abuse accusations against former coach Jerry Sandusky.

  • The Second Mile

    Sandusky's <a href="" target="_hplink">charity,</a> founded in 1977, allowed him unfettered access to young boys under the guise of selflessness.

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Filed by Rebecca Harrington  |