Sandusky lawyers list issues in appeal plan

Posted: March 12, 2013

Attorneys for Jerry Sandusky have outlined the issues they plan to raise on appeal to try to overturn his conviction of child-sexual abuse.

A main claim: That his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare their defense. The court's denial of defense requests for continuances made it impossible for attorneys to study and utilize the vast amount of material turned over by the prosecution, his lawyers say.

That interfered with Sandusky's right to counsel, appeals attorney Norris Gelman wrote in the filing, entered Monday in Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pa.

The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison last year after being convicted of 45 counts of child-sexual abuse. For Sandusky, 69, that amounts to a life sentence. He maintains his innocence.

In the three-page filing, Gelman says Judge John Cleland should have given Sandusky's lawyers more time. He also should have given the jury instructions about the victims' failure to make prompt complaints; some waited years. Another reversible error was committed when the court told the jury to weigh the testimony of Sandusky's character witnesses against all other evidence in the case, the filing states.

Reversible error occurred, the filing says, when the prosecutor commented negatively on Sandusky's failure to take the stand in his own defense, as is his right. During the trial, prosecutor Joseph McGettigan noted that Sandusky had been willing to speak with TV sportscaster Bob Costas.

Other grounds, the filing says, include the court's allowing the testimony of Penn State custodian Ronald Petrosky, who said coworker Jim Calhoun told him he saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in the locker-room showers.

Calhoun, badly shaken, told coworkers what he saw, but never made an official report. Calhoun was too ill to testify at trial.

Also Monday, Penn State disclosed that its bill to pay costs associated with the scandal has topped $41 million, including $8.1 million to pay for the internal investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The bill includes a $12 million payment to the NCAA - the first of five annual installments of the $60 million fine that is part of the sanctions.

Contact Jeff Gammage at 215-854-2415,, or on Twitter @JeffGammage.

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