BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A jury dominated by people with Penn State loyalties was selected Wednesday to decide Jerry Sandusky's fate in the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university and led to football coach Joe Paterno's downfall.
The seven women and five men who will hear opening statements on Monday include an engineering administrative assistant at Penn State, a dance teacher in the continuing education program and a professor who has been on the faculty for 24 years.
Also: a Penn State senior, a retired soil sciences professor with 37 years at the university, a man with bachelor's and master's degrees from the school and a woman who has been a season ticketholder since the 1970s.
Sandusky, a 68-year-old former assistant football coach, is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year span.
Picking the jury took less than two days, moving along more swiftly than some had expected, given that the rural area is rich with Penn State employees, alumni and fans, many of whom have strong opinions about the case. Bellefonte is 12 miles from Penn State's main campus in State College.
The judge, however, said Penn State connections would not automatically disqualify potential jurors as long as they could pledge to be impartial. Eight of the 12 jurors and two of the four alternates have ties to Penn State.
Some legal experts said jurors with Penn State connections might be inclined to come down hard on Sandusky, blaming him for Paterno's firing and the damage to the school's reputation. Or they might take their frustrations out on prosecutors for bringing the case in the first place.
St. Vincent College law professor Bruce Antkowiak said the Penn State factor could cut both ways.
"In one sense, you worry about, this guy was for many years of his life a hero of that community, an idol," Antkowiak said, referring to Sandusky's role as founder of an acclaimed charity for youngsters.
"On the other hand, there's also the consideration that there are people who believe this guy betrayed so much of what gave this institution and this area so much of the character and innocence that we love, that he has besmirched it in such a profound way."
On the list of potential witnesses, along with the young men who have accused Sandusky, are Paterno's widow and son and assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he saw Sandusky naked in a team shower with a boy more than a decade ago and reported it to Paterno.
Paterno was fired in November for not acting more decisively against Sandusky. He died of lung cancer two months later at 85.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Joseph Amendola asked again for a delay in the trial, alleging that the judge's gag order was violated by an ABC report that said the accuser identified in court papers as Victim 4 would be the first witness. Judge John Cleland denied the request.
Amendola arrived with Sandusky at the courthouse in the morning and told reporters he was confident the nine jurors picked at that time would give them a "fair shake." Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan said: "So far, so good."
In court, Sandusky, who has acknowledged he showered with boys but says he never molested them, quietly leafed through a binder with plastic-covered pages. During a break, he turned to two media representatives and asked with a chuckle, "What did you guys do to deserve me?" and "How did you guys get stuck with this?"
Several prospective jurors showed up at the courthouse in clothing with Penn State logos. And the web of Penn State connections was evident when a group of 40 potential jurors was questioned Wednesday. Ten indicated they worked at the university. Nineteen indicated they or a close family member had volunteered or contributed financially to Penn State.
Fifteen said they knew someone on the prosecution's witness list, while 20 knew someone on Sandusky's defense list.
Juror No. 12 has been a professor at Penn State for more than two decades and worked on a committee with university president Graham Spanier, who was ousted in the wake of the scandal.
Jules Epstein, a criminal defense attorney and law professor at Widener University School of Law in Delaware, said the defense might try to use the Penn State-heavy jury to its advantage by calling people with strong ties to the university to vouch for Sandusky's character.
"If some of those witnesses are also respected in the Penn State community, you are subtly, softly making that link," he said.
Epstein said the defense would be wise to avoid trying to cast the trial as a vendetta against Penn State and Paterno. Jurors will probably see through that strategy, he said.
"I can see somebody saying, `This case isn't about Penn State. This is about a bunch of youngsters whose lives were ruined,'" Epstein said.
Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam and Joe Mandak contributed to this report.
Role: Former assistant football coach and founder of The Second Mile charity for children, accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period. Background: Arrested in November after a long investigation by a statewide grand jury. He had been a very successful defensive coach for the Nittany Lions for 30 years, and prosecutors say he used his fame in the community to attract victims. Charges: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a young child, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children. Status: Awaits trial, with jury selection scheduled for Tuesday.
Role: Married to Jerry Sandusky. Background: Dottie Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and issuing a statement in December that proclaimed his innocence and said accusers were making up stories. She is not charged.
Role: Penn State athletic director, on leave while he fights criminal charges for actions related to the Sandusky scandal. Background: Curley fielded a complaint about Sandusky in a team shower with a boy in early 2001, and told a grand jury he instructed Sandusky not to be inside Penn State athletic facilities with any young people. Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He's not on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Role: Penn State vice president for business and finance, now retired. Background: Schultz told the grand jury that head coach Joe Paterno and assistant Mike McQueary reported the 2001 shower incident "in a very general way" but did not provide details. Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He's not on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Role: Assistant Penn State football coach. Was a graduate assistant in 2001, when he says he witnessed Jerry Sandusky and a boy naked together in a team shower. McQueary took his complaint to Paterno, who alerted university administrators. Background: McQueary testified at a court hearing in December that he "believed Jerry was sexually molesting" the boy and "having some type of intercourse with him."
Role: Defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky. Background: Amendola has been second-guessed for allowing Sandusky to go on network television and speak at length with a reporter for The New York Times after his arrest. Has won several legal battles for Sandusky, including getting him released on bail and fighting the prosecution's effort to have the case heard by a jury from outside the State College area. His office is in State College.
Role: Another defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky. Background: Rominger suggested in media interviews that Sandusky might have been teaching "basic hygiene skills" to some of the youths, such as how to put soap on their bodies. His office is in Carlisle.
Joseph McGettigan III
Role: Lead prosecutor. Background: McGettigan, currently senior deputy attorney general, is a veteran prosecutor with stints in the Philadelphia and Delaware County district attorneys' offices and the U.S. attorney's office. McGettigan prosecuted John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler at his palatial estate in 1996. He's known as an aggressive, feisty lawyer.
Role: Judge presiding over Sandusky's trial. Background: Cleland is a semi-retired senior judge from McKean County in western Pennsylvania. Known as courteous and fair-minded, Cleland previously chaired a state panel that investigated a nationally reported scandal in Luzerne County involving the trading of juvenile-detention suspects for cash.
Role: The longtime football coach was told by McQueary in 2001 that he saw Sandusky and Victim No. 2 in a shower on the Penn State campus and, in turn, told Curley and Schultz. Background: The head coach at Penn State from 1966 through 2011, and major college football's winningest, he offered to resign at the end of the 2011 season amid the uproar after Sandusky's arrest Nov. 6. The Penn State Board of Trustees, however, ousted him for what was called his "failure of leadership" surrounding allegations about Sandusky. He died of lung cancer Jan. 22.
Role: Married to Paterno for almost 50 years, she raised five children with him and passionately defended her husband during the scandal and after he died. It's unclear whether she might testify.
Role: Now the governor of Pennsylvania, he was attorney general when the investigation into Sandusky was launched by state prosecutors. Background: Corbett is an ex-officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged in December.
Role: Pennsylvania attorney general, whose office is prosecuting Sandusky. Background: A career prosecutor in the Pittsburgh area, Kelly inherited the Sandusky probe from Corbett when she was confirmed as his temporary successor as attorney general. She leaves office in January.
Role: Pennsylvania State Police commissioner. Background: Noonan garnered national attention two days after Sandusky's arrest when he criticized Paterno, a Penn State and sports icon, for failing his "moral responsibility" to do more when McQueary told him of the 2001 shower incident.
Role: Former CEO of The Second Mile, the charity Jerry Sandusky founded. Background: Raykovitz led the charity for almost 30 years and was a longtime friend of Sandusky's. Raykovitz testified before the grand jury that recommended indicting Sandusky on child abuse charges. He resigned from The Second Mile soon after the scandal broke, and board members later complained that Raykovitz hadn't told them enough about earlier allegations against Sandusky.