BELLEFONTE – Jerry Sandusky’s attorney thinks the accusers should be able to remember when the former Penn State defensive coordinator allegedly abused them.
Attorney Joe Amendola said they could say whether it occurred around the time of a Penn State football game or a picnic for The Second Mile, for instance. Those are “major events” in a child’s life that Amendola said during a hearing in Centre County court this morning he would remember from his own.
"All we’re asking the court to do is tell the commonwealth to try a little bit harder,” Amendola said.
He said that if the alleged victims can't remember and the prosecution can’t provide that detail, he plans to ask a judge to dismiss the case against his client, citing a violation of a fair trial.
Amendola made the argument during a short hearing this morning to address his request for a more specific bill of particulars. The mention of a motion to toss out the case could provide a glimpse into the next court battle as the case heads toward a mid-May trial.
Senior Judge John Cleland didn’t issue a decision this morning. He said: “I will take a look at this,” before adjourning court.
The attorneys for both sides expect a ruling soon.
It appears the prosecution won’t be able to do provide the information Amendola is asking for. Prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III told Cleland that the accusers, who are now adults, have repressed the alleged childhood abuse and don’t recall the exact times and dates. Further, re-interviewing them to find out that information would be a distressing experience for them, too, he said.
McGettigan shot back at Amendola's comment about remembering events from his childhood. He said Amendola would remember them because they weren't "tainted" by alleged abuse.
By getting the specific information, Amendola said he wants to pin down the prosecution on when the allegations occurred.
He said once prosecutors declare when an allegation happened, for example around the 2002 Penn State game with Michigan State game, the prosecutors can’t change it at trial, for example by saying it was around the Ohio State game of that year.
McGettigan said Amendola’s client gave up an opportunity to ask the accusers those questions in court when Sandusky waived his right to a preliminary hearing in December. Amendola said his client waived the hearing because there was an agreement not to change bail on any future arrests, of which there have been none.
McGettigan also said the discovery material should provide Amendola with more specific information like what he's requesting. Prosecutors this morning gave Amendola a large box filled with documents that are part of the discovery materials, but Amendola said he hadn't had a chance to review them.
In addition, Amendola said before the hearing that he believes several of the accusers knew each other around the times of their alleged abuse.
The 68-year-old Sandusky did not attend the hearing. Amendola said his client wanted to but didn’t want cause “an uproar” by attending.
Sandusky maintains his innocence and remains confined to his College Township home.
Amendola described Sandusky as “very anxious” as he awaits trial. Sandusky passes his time by reviewing the case – not sitting around – and has had visitors at his home, such as “longtime friends” and his grandchildren, Amendola said.