Judge denies Sandusky bid for more specific information on allegations

Posted: March 14, 2012

The judge handling the case against former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky denied his request for more specific information on when his alleged crimes occurred.

Prosecutors have said they cannot produce the precise time frames within which the former coach's 10 accusers say he sexually abused them. And without those details, Judge John Cleland said in a ruling filed Tuesday in Centre County Court, ordering the state to hand the information over to Sandusky's defense would be "futile."

Cleland's ruling came a day after both sides argued the issue before him in a courtroom in Bellefonte.

Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, maintained that failure to produce a precise timeline would inhibit his client's defense. Specific dates of the alleged encounters would allow Sandusky to check his records against his accusers' allegations, he said.

In response to the judge's order Tuesday, Amendola said he would file a motion next week seeking dismissal of the charges against Sandusky.

"All we're looking for is something in broad terms," he said. "If we can establish an alibi for one or two instances, then the jury can infer their credibility."

Though Cleland's ruling Tuesday favored prosecutors, the judge seemed reluctant during Monday's hearing to accept their argument that some of Sandusky's alleged victims could not pin down the purported abuse to a period more specific than a stretch of five years.

When it comes to fixing dates, state courts have provided "the commonwealth greater latitude when the alleged crimes involve sexual offenses against a young child," the judge wrote.

However, he cited a number of cases in which children as young as 3 were able to describe when their abuse occurred within a range of a few months.

Prosecutors have maintained that many of Sandusky's accusers - who were between 8 and 17 at the time - have spent years trying to suppress the memories of their relationships with him.

Sandusky has denied charges that he molested the 10 boys he met through the Second Mile, a charity he founded for underprivileged youth in 1977.

He is set to take his case before a jury in May.


Contact Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218 or jroebuck@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @jeremyrroebuck.

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