PENN STATE SCANDAL

Jerry Sandusky waives preliminary hearing

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Costanzo also said there had been no discussions about a plea bargain.
Sandusky also will waive his next court appearance, an arraignment, that had been scheduled for Jan. 11, Amendola said. He remains under house arrest.

Sandusky remains under house arrest and under his existing bail conditions. (Photo: Centre County Sheriff)

The accusers who were prepared to testify were split in their reactions to the hearing being canceled.

Boni said he was encouraged that the accusers "do not have to relive the horrors they experience up on the witness stand" by having to testify at the hearing and at trial.

Ben Andreozzi, a lawyer representing another accuser, read a statement from his client, who called it the most difficult time of his life.

"I can't believe they put us through this until the last second," the statement read. "I still will stand my ground, testify and speak the truth."

Ken Suggs, another attorney for one of the accusers, called Sandusky a "coward" for not facing the young men.

Witnesses have contended before the grand jury that Sandusky committed a range of sexual offenses against boys as young as 10, assaulting them in hotel swimming pools, the basement of his home in State College and in the locker room showers at Penn State, where the 67-year-old former assistant football coach once built a national reputation as a defensive mastermind.

Sandusky has told NBC and The New York Times that his relationship to the boys who said he abused them was like that of an extended family. Sandusky characterized his experiences with the children as "precious times" and said the physical aspect of the relationships "just happened that way" and didn't involve abuse.

Amendola said Sandusky was always emotional and physical - "a loving guy, an affectionate guy" - who never did anything illegal. The lawyer likened Sandusky's behavior to his own Italian family in which "everybody hugged and kissed each other."

Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999, a year after the first known abuse allegation reached police when a mother told investigators Sandusky had showered with her son during a visit to the Penn State football facilities. Accusations surfaced again in 2002, when graduate assistant Mike McQueary reported another alleged incident of abuse to Paterno and other university officials.

The grand jury probe began only in 2009, after a teen complained that Sandusky, then a volunteer coach at his high school, had abused him.
Sandusky first groomed him with gifts and trips in 2006 and 2007, then sexually assaulted him more than 20 times in 2008 through early 2009, the teen told the grand jury.

Amendola on Tuesday attacked McQueary by citing an anonymously sourced newspaper report that claimed the former graduate assistant changed his story when speaking to a family friend. The defense attorney said McQueary would derail the prosecution and other accusers also would be questioned.

"McQueary was always the centerpiece of the prosecution's case," he said.
No one answered the door at Mike McQueary's home and his father, John, told The Associated Press that he wouldn't respond to Amendola's comments.

Sandusky founded The Second Mile, an organization to help struggling children, in 1977, and built it into a major charitable organization, headquartered in State College with offices in other parts of Pennsylvania.

Two university officials have been charged with perjury and failure to report suspected abuse - athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday in Harrisburg.

Curley has been placed on leave and Schultz has returned to retirement in the wake of their arrests. The scandal brought down university president Graham Spanier and longtime coach Paterno, who was fired last month.

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