Jerry Sandusky faces 52 charges of child sex abuse
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UPDATE: Of the 16 people selected as jurors or alternates for the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, nine have some connection to the university where he worked.
ABC News reports that one juror, currently a senior in college, wore his Penn State shirt to the courthouse; one worked as a professor at the university for 24 years; another retired from the faculty after 37 years; and one woman has been a football season ticket holder since the 1970s.
The selection process for the panel has been a challenge given the high level of media attention garnered by the case and the small-town setting for the trial. Given the prominence of Penn State in the rural county, Judge John Cleland said connections to the university wouldn’t disqualify jurors so long as they could maintain impartiality, the Associated Press reports.
Many of the 220 prospective jurors interviewed on Tuesday reported personally knowing Sandusky, his wife, or somebody else on the expansive witness list. Seven Sandusky family members are among the more than 100 witnesses to be called by the defense, CNN tells us. The prosecution witness list includes more than 50 people.
Cleland told jurors Tuesday that they would not be sequestered, a controversial decision in such a high-profile case. Jurors, however, were told to avoid newspapers, television news, and even social media for the duration of the trial.
Tuesday, June 5: Jury selection begins Tuesday for the trial of Jerry Sandusky, who faces 52 counts of molestation charges in relation to the alleged abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year span.
According to Reuters, the trial will start on June 11 or later. The courthouse is 10 miles from the site of Penn State's main campus in central Pennsylvania. Jurors will be chosen from the area around the campus, the Associated Press notes. Prosecutors had wanted to bring in an outside jury.
Sandusky, who has denied the allegations against him, arrived at the courthouse Tuesday, making no comments to the press.
Monday, June 4: Those men who have accused Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing them as boys won't be able to remain anonymous in court.
Judge John Cleland rejected a request on Monday from four of the alleged victims who had wanted to use pseudonyms while testifying in Sandusky's trial, which is set to begin this week. The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach faces 52 charges he abused 10 boys over a span of 15 years.
In his written ruling, Cleland explained that while he understood the alleged victim's desire to remain anonymous, he said there is nothing in Pennsylvania law that allows for adult witnesses to shield their identities from the public while on the stand.
"While I will make every effort to be sensitive to the nature of the alleged victims' testimony, once the trial begins the veil must be lifted," he wrote (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "Courts are not customarily in the business of withholding information. Secrecy is thought to be inconsistent with the openness required to assure the public that the law is being administered fairly and applied faithfully."
Most American news outlets typically refrain from publishing the names of those who say they were the victims of sexual abuse. Still, given the intense public interest in the case and the existence of court records, those who take the stand face the possibility that their names will quickly find their way onto the Internet in some form.
One lawyer who represents one of the alleged victims explained the reality to the Associated Press like so: "It's almost as if he's being branded with a scarlet letter," Ben Andreozzi said of his client, who still plans to testify despite Monday's ruling. "This is something he may not ever be able to escape from—'Oh, he's one of Jerry Sandusky's victims.' "