Former Penn State University assistant football coach JerrySandusky, left, arrives June 5 for jury selection for his trial onchild sexual abuse charges, in Bellefonte, Pa. The trial beginsMonday. (Gene J. Puskar, File/Associated Press) A jury of seven women and five men will get their first glimpse ofthe case against former Penn State assistant football coach JerrySandusky and his defence when opening statements begin today insidea courthouse in the central Pennsylvania community of Bellefonte. Sandusky's lawyers and state prosecutors have been under a gagorder for months, so their outline of the case to jurors Mondayshould reveal new details about an investigation that has takenseveral years. |
Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts that he sexually abused 10boys over 15 years, allegations he has consistently denied.Sandusky's lawyers were not able to get the judge to delay the trial , and on Friday Judge John Cleland rejected their request to havesome or all of the counts dismissed. Many of the alleged victims are expected to take the stand for theprosecution, and their credibility in jurors' eyes could prove tobe the decisive factor in determining the verdict. But however the case ends, when it comes to getting to the bottomof what happened, the trial will definitely not be the final word. There are many other questions being asked in a number of forumsthat would have to be answered for the complete story to come tolight. First and foremost, the state attorney general's office hasrepeatedly indicated it has an "active and ongoing" relatedinvestigation, and the mere existence of the open investigationsuggests additional criminal charges could result.
The university has said its president has been in talks with stateprosecutors about when he will appear before a grand jury to answerquestions, and Penn State disclosed last month that it would coverlegal expenses of eight employees who also received subpoenas thisyear. Penn State spends millions on investigation Citing a gag order, a spokesman for the attorney general declinedto comment on the current status of the investigation, which isalso obscured by the secrecy rules that govern operation ofinvestigative grand juries in the state. There also clearly is a federal investigation, but there are fewdetails beyond the fact that Penn State said that in February, ithad been issued a wide-ranging subpoena from the U.S. attorney'soffice in Harrisburg, seeking computer records and otherinformation. Amanda Endy, a spokeswoman for the office, said Thursday thatfederal prosecutors have not commented on the topic and declined arequest to discuss any update.
The state grand jury that investigated Sandusky reported oneaccuser claimed to have been sexually abused while attending bowlgames with Sandusky in Florida or Texas, which could raise legalissues best addressed by the federal system. Penn State has spent millions of dollars already on its owninvestigation into the matter, led by former federal judge LouisFreeh, who spent eight years as FBI director. That report isexpected to be issued after the Sandusky criminal trial ends,perhaps in August, and should add substantially to what is knownabout the scandal. Television satellite trucks line South Allegheny Street in front ofthe Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., on Sunday, inpreparation for opening statements in the child sexual abuse trialof former Penn State Football assistant football coach JerrySandusky on Monday morning.
(Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press) "They've interviewed over 400 current and former employees fromnumerous departments, such as the academic, administrative, andathletic departments; current and past trustees," universityspokesman Dave La Torre said Thursday. He said the objective was tofigure out how the alleged crimes occurred and recommend changes,and to review Penn State's handling of sex crimes and misconduct. Big 10 review ongoing Both the Big 10 Conference and the NCAA have contacted Penn Stateto indicate their interest in the matter. A Big 10 spokesman saidFriday its review was ongoing and could not provide a statusupdate.
The NCAA launched its inquiry into potential rules violations inNovember, asking Penn State to explain how it applied"institutional control" in the matter, whether school officialsfollowed their policies on honesty and ethical conduct, and askingwhat steps have been taken to prevent a similar episode. On Thursday, the NCAA issued a statement saying the school wasstill collecting information from a special investigative counseland that when the school's investigation was complete, the schoollikely would respond to NCAA president Mark Emmert's originalquestions. The results could lead to a formal NCAA investigationinto possible rules violations. La Torre said both the NCAA and Big 10 have told the universitythey would wait until Sandusky's trial has ended before any formalinvestigations are launched. The U.S.
Department of Education has been looking into whether theschool violated the Clery Act, which requires reporting of crimeson campus, in the case of the Sandusky allegations. La Torre said that as part of the Clery Act review, Penn State hasturned over a large number of documents and files and made itsemployees available to answer questions and discuss procedures.Last month Penn State disclosed it had hired someone to train andmonitor its employees to comply with the Clery Act. An Education Department spokesman, Chris Greene, declined tocomment Thursday on the status of that investigation. Second Mile seeks to cease operations The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth founded by Sandusky in1977, and where prosecutors allege he met and groomed allegedvictims, had announced a Philadelphia law firm was conducting aninternal investigation with an eye toward recommending changes inits future operations. But two weeks ago, The Second Mile announced it was seeking courtapproval to cease operations and transfer programs to a Texas-basedyouth ministry for abused and neglected children.
It's not clear what that has meant for the future of itsinvestigation, including whether any results will be made public.Messages seeking comment on the topic from David Woodle, The SecondMile's interim president, were not returned. Two Penn State administrators are awaiting trial on charges theyfailed to properly report suspected abuse and lied to the grandjury investigating Sandusky. The pending charges raise the prospectthat investigators under the attorney general's office may becontinuing to look into that matter, which commonly occurs aftercharges are filed and before trial. Finally, several plaintiffs' lawyers have surfaced, although onlyone has filed a complaint, in Philadelphia.
That case is on holduntil Sandusky's trial wraps up, and other lawyers also haveindicated they are holding back until a verdict is reached.
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