BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The judge overseeing Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse case on Friday denied the defense’s request to have the charges dismissed, leaving all 52 counts intact with opening statements three days away.
Judge John Cleland’s three-paragraph order didn’t explain the reasoning for turning down a set of defense motions.
Sandusky’s attorney had asked for all charges to be thrown out or at least for Cleland to conduct a hearing to see if some charges were supported by sufficient facts.
Sandusky, 68, a retired assistant Penn State football coach, is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year span, allegations he has consistently denied.
Defense attorney Karl Rominger and a spokesman for the attorney general’s office both declined to comment.
A panel of seven women and five men was selected during two days of jury selection this week, and the trial is expected to last several weeks.
Sandusky’s arrest in November rocked the sports world as a grand jury returned a report accusing him of grooming, then sexually assaulting, boys through a charity he founded. The grand jury found that some of the abuse happened at Penn State’s football facilities.
Legendary head football coach Joe Paterno was fired just days after Sandusky was charged along with two Penn State administrators accused of perjury and failing to report the abuse. Penn State trustees have said Paterno should have done more after an assistant told him of suspected abuse.
Paterno’s abrupt dismissal touched off riots in the town of State College, an area often referred to as Happy Valley.
Key prosecution witnesses expected to testify include many of the accusers, and Mike McQueary, an assistant coach who has said he witnessed Sandusky and a boy, naked in a team shower, in 2001.
The grand jury’s reports—a second was issued with additional charges in December—said Sandusky had frequent illicit contact with boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile, in the late 1990s through 2008, when an allegation of abuse at a local high school where Sandusky volunteered as a coach prompted the investigation.
In interviews following his arrest, Sandusky acknowledged showering with young boys and embracing them naked, but he denied sexually abusing them.
Paterno’s firing stemmed from the report by McQueary to him about seeing Sandusky in the shower with a boy. Paterno passed the complaint on to his boss, athletic director Tim Curley.
Paterno died of lung cancer less than three months after his firing.
More than a decade would pass before McQueary’s report helped lead to charges.
Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz were charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse in connection with McQueary’s report. They are awaiting trial and maintain their innocence.