Sandusky in court meeting; accusers seek anonymity
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky attended a closed-door meeting with the judge in his child sexual abuse case Tuesday and four of his accusers made formal requests for anonymity, a day before what could be the final hearing before the start of trial.
The topic of the previously unannounced meeting — which also included Sandusky’s lawyer and prosecutors — wasn’t clear, and participants declined to comment afterward.
Judge John Cleland has not ruled on a pending defense request to have charges dismissed. Jury selection from a pool of State College-area residents is expected to begin June 5.
Sandusky, 68, a retired assistant football coach at Penn State, faces 52 criminal counts. Prosecutors say he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he has repeatedly denied.
His lawyer, Joe Amendola, has said Sandusky did not intend to be at the pretrial hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Also Tuesday, four of the accusers filed court motions asking Cleland to prevent their names from being made public.
Lawyers for so-called Victims 3, 5 and 7 made a broad request to prevent all the accusers’ identities from being disclosed publicly, saying disclosure would cause their clients additional fear, anxiety and mental anguish and potentially expose them to physical harm.
Attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, who represent Victims 3 and 7, wrote in their motion that while their clients’ testimony is “of critical importance and the legitimate subject of media and public interest, personal information identifying Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse victims is not.” Lawyers for Victim 5 joined their motion.
Lawyers for Victim 4 asked that a pseudonym be used for him during the upcoming trial.
“It is an unfortunate reality that some victims in high profile cases view the disclosure of their identity as the equivalent of being branded with a scarlet letter,” wrote Ben Andreozzi and Jeff Fritz, lawyers for Victim 4, adding that accusers would rather be remembered for their positive contributions to society.
“Although Victim 4 remains 100 percent committed to testifying against the defendant in this case, at what expense will it come to his short-term and long-term well-being?” they wrote.
Shubin and Andronici wrote that Sandusky’s lawyer wasn’t opposed to their motion, but they had not heard back from state prosecutors. Messages left after business hours on Tuesday for a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, and for Sandusky’s lawyers, were not immediately returned.
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