Judge issues gag order in Sandusky case

Posted: April 10, 2012

The judge presiding over Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse case issued a gag order Monday, silencing the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach and his unusually talkative attorneys.

In a filing in Centre County Court, Judge John M. Cleland barred prosecutors and Sandusky's defense team from publicly discussing the case in the run-up to his June trial.

The ruling also applies to anyone involved in the ongoing investigation or any potential witnesses who may be called to testify at trial.

Sandusky remains confined to his home while he awaits a June 5 trial on more than 50 counts of child sex abuse. Prosecutors allege he molested at least 10 boys over 15 years.

Since Sandusky's arrest in November, his attorney, Joseph Amendola, has been a frequent voice in media coverage of his client's case - at times raising eyebrows by offering Sandusky up for interviews.

Days after the arrest, the former coach appeared in an interview with NBC's Bob Costas. While he proclaimed that he never had sex with any of his accusers, Sandusky stumbled uncomfortably over some of Costas' questions. Asked whether he was sexually attracted to young boys, Sandusky hesitated for several minutes before replying, "I enjoy their enthusiasm. I just have a good time with them."

Sandusky tried to undo the damage in a later interview with the New York Times.

"What in the world was this question?" he told the paper. "If I say, 'No, I'm not attracted to boys,' that's not the truth, because I'm attracted to young people - boys, girls. . . ." He added later that he did not mean sexually.

After waiving his client's preliminary hearing in December, Amendola spent nearly three hours outside of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte excoriating state investigators and alleging that Sandusky's accusers had conspired together to build a case against him.

Cleland's gag order comes more than a week after two conflicting psychological evaluations of one of Sandusky's alleged victims were leaked to NBC News and other outlets. Prosecutors had argued that not even the former coach's defense team should have access to the files because releasing them would violate the rights of the purported victims.

In other developments, a Dauphin County judge set deadlines last week in the proceedings against two Penn State administrators accused of lying to the grand jury investigating Sandusky.

Tim Curley, the university's suspended athletic director, and Gary Schultz, a former vice president, have entered not-guilty pleas to charges of perjury and failure to report. They are next due in court June 1.

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

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