Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will head to trial next week on charges that he sexually molested 10 boys after the presiding judge refused to grant a delay or allow his attorneys more time to prepare a defense.
Following a final pre-trial hearing today to iron out details of the case, including privacy of the alleged sexual abuse victims, the case will proceed to jury selection. Judge John M. Cleland wrote in an order released today that jury selection will begin June 5 and testimony in the trial will not begin "before June 11." He ruled that media reporters would be allowed to live-Tweet and live-blog the proceedings in court, though not record them verbatim.
Sandusky and his attorneys arrived unexpectedly at the Centre County courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, a day before today's scheduled hearing. The appearance sparked speculation that Sandusky and prosecutors may have been discussing a plea deal.
According to documents posted on the trial's website, however, the meeting was called by Cleland to discuss a motion by Sandusky's attorneys to delay jury selection. Sandusky and his attorneys, Joseph Amendola and Karl Rominger, were joined by state prosecutors in the meeting, where Cleland denied the motion.
Sandusky is expected to face at least eight of his accusers in court as they take the witness stand to explain how the former defensive coach allegedly molested them. Two of the alleged victims will not be in court because the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office was not able to identify them from witness accounts of molestation incidents.
One incident of alleged abuse that has dominated the coverage of Sandusky relies on assistant Penn State football coach Mike McQueary, who testified to the investigating grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the football building's showers. McQueary said that he reported the abuse to head coach Joseph Paterno, who then told his superiors, Tim Curly and Gary Shultz, about the incident.
Curly and Shultz were arrested shortly after Sandusky was arrested, and charged with failure to report sexual abuse to the police. They were also charged with perjury for testimony they gave to the grand jury in which they claimed they did not know how serious the abuse was, and that McQueary did not tell them he saw child rape. What was said between McQueary and Paterno, and then Paterno and his superiors, remains at the heart of the case against Curly and Shultz.
Paterno died in January at the age of 85 after a battle with lung cancer. He was widely criticized for not doing more after the alleged shower incident and fired from Penn State's head coaching position.
The child who was alleged to have been raped during that shower incident, however, has never been found by the police.
Another alleged case of abuse which is said to have occurred in the Penn State football building was witnessed by a janitor, who told other janitors what he saw. Police have not identified the boy in that incident, and the witness now has dementia and will not testify about what he saw.
Sandusky has denied all of the charges against him.
All of the boys who have alleged that Sandusky molested them were members of The Second Mile, a charity started by Sandusky in the 1970s to help troubled young boys through mentoring programs.