Judge in Penn State abuse case issues "gag" order

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 09, 2012 12:14 PM
Judge in Penn State abuse case issues "gag" order

(Reuters) - The judge overseeing former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial has barred attorneys involved from speaking to the media, citing the "unprecedented publicity" surrounding the case.

Judge John Cleland's order, filed on Monday, extends to any statement the lawyers or their representatives might make about evidence, witnesses and Sandusky's guilt or innocence.

Cleland said the order "is narrowly tailored to achieve its purposes in light of the unprecedented publicity generated by the case" and should help ensure "a fair, impartial and orderly trial."

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 counts of abuse stemming from accusations he molested 10 boys between 1994 and 2008. The former coach, who has maintained his innocence, has been under house arrest since December.

His November indictment rocked the U.S. collegiate sports world, became top headline news and led to the dismissal of the university's long-time head football coach, Joe Paterno, and President Graham Spanier.

Paterno died earlier this year.

The trial is scheduled to begin on June 5 at the Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandusky's lawyers have sought to have the charges dismissed.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Philip Barbara)