BELLEFONTE — The judge presiding over the Jerry Sandusky case said Tuesday prosecutors can’t pinpoint when the alleged abuses occurred, so there’s no point in making them hand over information they don’t have to the defense.
Senior Judge John Cleland dismissed the defense’s request for a more specific bill of particulars. His decision came less than 24 hours after attorneys for both sides presented their arguments during a short hearing in the Centre County Courthouse Annex.
In his four-page ruling, Cleland said there are plenty of cases involving assaults against children in which prosecutors didn’t have to provide specific times or dates.
“However, the commonwealth stated at argument that it cannot provide further details beyond what it has already supplied in its bill of particulars,” Cleland wrote. “Therefore, any order directing the commonwealth to supply details would be a futile act since the commonwealth has explained it cannot supply the details requested,” he wrote in his four-page ruling.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Centre Daily Times
Because of the decision, Amendola said Tuesday he will ask Cleland to drop the case. He told The Associated Press that Cleland has said “what the case law says can result in a case being chucked.”
The issue was over alleged incidents that prosecutors have said happened over weeks, months and years. Those alleged assaults don’t include the most widely scrutinized one — what former Penn State coach Mike McQueary said was an “extremely sexual” encounter in a football building in 2002 — or the 1998 incident in which Sandusky was investigated, but not charged, in connection with showering with two young boys.
Amendola wanted the prosecution to narrow down the date range by reinterviewing the accusers to see if they could recall if the alleged abuse happened around a special event, like a Penn State football game. Amendola said that could lead his investigators to close in on specific dates.
Not having that information would impede building a defense strategy, Amendola argued, and would be a violation of his client’s right to a fair trial. That’s why he’ll seek a dismissal of the case, he said.
But Prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III said the alleged victims experienced the alleged abuse years ago, when they were children and that they’ve repressed the memories of it. He alleged Sandusky had tried to conceal the alleged abuse, too.
Cleland also ordered that the names of the 10 accusers are to be kept sealed and not disclosed to anyone. Subpoenas seeking records against the accusers must have a notice in at least 18- point type stating that the names will not be disclosed and that any violation could be considered contempt of court, Cleland wrote.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4631.