Judge denies Sandusky request to dismiss charges

Posted: June 09, 2012

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — The judge presiding over the child sex-abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky denied a defense motion Friday to dismiss all charges against the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach.

Judge John M. Cleland turned down the request from Sandusky's lawyers, who argued that in several instances prosecutors did not have enough evidence to convict their client.

Though the defense sought a dismissal of all charges, Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, in arguments last week homed in on two particular cases in which prosecutors have yet to identify a victim and a third involving a young man whose allegations of abuse police have already investigated.

Bound by a judicial gag order, Amendola and the Attorney General's Office were unavailable to comment on Cleland's ruling Friday. But during a court hearing in Bellefonte last week, Sandusky's lawyer said that without a victim to take the stand, prosecutors could not prove their case involving boys identified as Victim 2 and Victim 8.

According to court filings, Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant coach at the university, walked in on Sandusky, who he said was naked with Victim 2 in a locker-room shower in 2001. McQueary originally told a grand jury he saw the former coach sodomizing the child, but during a later court hearing, he said he only heard sexual activity and was convinced that "something sexual in nature" had occurred.

The case of Victim 8, as outlined in a 2011 grand jury presentment, involves a child between 11 and 13 whom a former Penn State janitor said he saw receiving oral sex from Sandusky. The man told coworkers but never notified authorities. He now suffers from dementia and is unavailable to testify, prosecutors have said.

Amendola also took issue with another case that he said had already been vetted and dismissed. Prosecutors allege Sandusky inappropriately touched a boy identified as Victim 6 while showering with him in 1998.

Penn State police conducted an investigation at the time in conjunction with state child welfare officials, but then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar declined to press charges.

Cleland's order Friday ensures that Sandusky will face all of the 52 counts of child-sexual abuse he is charged with when opening arguments begin Monday.

The former coach has repeatedly denied allegations he molested 10 boys in all over 15 years.

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

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