Prosecutors think the only reason Jerry Sandusky should be allowed to step outside his Grandview Road home is to go to the doctor or the hospital.
The suggestion to keep him inside his home except to seek medical care was among the strongly worded arguments filed Tuesday by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach, who opposes Sandusky’s request to change his bail. Sandusky wants to see his grandkids and be able to leave his home to meet with his attorney and private investigator.
Sandusky has been on house arrest since his arrest in December. His attorney, Joe Amendola, filed the request for bail modification last month, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday morning.
Sandusky’s request may have backfired as prosecutors are now asking the judge to impose harsher restrictions on the bail for the former defensive coordinator, who’s charged with 52 counts of sexually abusing children. Eshbach said the charges, and that Sandusky “horribly violated” the trust of the children’s parents, justify tougher conditions.
In her argument, Eshbach revealed multiple concerns she said have come from Sandusky’s neighbors and others at the nearby Lemont Elementary School. They have complained that Sandusky, whose property borders a playground on the school’s lot, has been seen outside his home.
She argues Sandusky should be forbidden from being outside his home so close to the playground because “his presence alarms teachers and members of the public.”
In an exhibit attached to the filing, investigator Anthony Sassano wrote on Jan. 26 that he was told a teacher and student-teacher at the school saw Sandusky watching children who were outside during recess.
State College police said last week they received a complaint from the school that Sandusky was seen on his porch.
Sassano also wrote Sandusky was outside shoveling snow on Jan. 21. Sassano said a neighbor thought Sandusky was being given special treatment outside the rules of the house arrest program through the county’s probation and parole department.
Eshbach argued the concerns like those “will mushroom” if Sandusky is allowed to “roam at will outside his home.”
Furthermore, Eshbach argued, Sandusky is lucky to be on house arrest and prosecutors believe he should be in jail.
“He has been granted the privilege of being confined in his own home, which is spacious and private and where he can eat food of his own preference and sleep in his own bed at night,” Eshbach wrote. “House arrest is not meant to be a house party.”
Amendola said Sandusky has been “a prisoner in his home” since being arrested in November but has complied with the conditions of his bail. Amendola said the prosecution’s concerns for the safety of the children in Sandusky’s area are unfounded.
As for allowing Sandusky to have visits with his grandchildren, Eshbach said prosecutors didn’t know the grandkids wanted to see him, and she demanded proof they did.
In addition, Eshbach said prosecutors don’t know if Sandusky’s children want him to have contact with their children. She cited an example from Jill Thomas, the ex-wife of one of Sandusky’s sons. Thomas, she wrote, “strenuously objects to her three minor children having any contact whatsoever” with their grandfather.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.