Judge to decide if Sandusky can visit grandchildren

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2012 9:13 AM

By Mark Shade

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A judge was due to rule Friday on whether former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky should be allowed to visit his grandchildren while on bail on sex abuse charges and be tried outside Center County, among other motions.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal charges for suspicion of molesting 10 boys between 1994 and 2008. He's been confined to his home since his second arrest last December.

His indictment in November sparked the sudden dismissal of Penn State's iconic head football coach, Joe Paterno, who died on January 22. University President Graham Spanier also lost his job.

Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

Centre County Judge John Cleland will consider motions by Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, to modify bail so the ex-coach can have supervised visits with his grandchildren and other adults in his State College home, and so he can work on his defense at Amendola's office.

Amendola also wants more information about Sandusky's accusers that the state Attorney General Linda Kelly's office has, so far, been reluctant to provide.

Prosecutors want Cleland to allow an out-of-county jury to hear Sandusky's trial, arguing in its motion that a jury made up of Centre County residents would place the case in "peril" because they are too emotionally and financially intertwined with Penn State.

Responding to the prosecution's request, Amendola said looking for an outside jury would be inappropriate because of the "spectacular ... breadth and intensity" of the media coverage.

"This coverage has occurred outside Centre County, the commonwealth, and ... even outside our national borders, regardless of what other county in Pennsylvania from which a jury may be selected," he said.

Prosecutors have countered with their opposition to letting Sandusky receive visits from anyone or to be allowed to leave his home to prepare his defense.

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta)