Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Jerry Sandusky attends meeting with judge; alleged abuse victims want names withheld

BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky, his attorneys and a prosecutor in the child sex abuse case had a closed-door meeting with Senior Judge John Cleland on Tuesday, but the nature of the meeting held on the eve of a scheduled court hearing was unclear.

It came the same day that attorneys for four of the alleged victims filed requests to keep the names of their clients from being disclosed in open court. Attorneys said disclosing their clients’ names would cause the young men to be humiliated and would be the equivalent of “throwing them to the wolves.”

The unannounced meeting Tuesday on the third floor of the Centre County Courthouse Annex, on the corner of East High and South Allegheny streets, lasted about 21⁄2 hours.

A stone-faced Sandusky, in a white dress shirt, tie, blue sport coat and khaki pants, left with attorney Joe Amendola, who declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.

Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan declined to comment when he left with investigators seconds earlier.

A hearing to address any outstanding pretrial matters in the case is scheduled to start at 1:30 this afternoon. Sandusky is not expected to appear in court today.

Court Administrator Maxine Ishler confirmed that today’s hearing will go on as scheduled.

Amendola is asking for the charges against the former Penn State assistant football coach to be dropped on the grounds that some are too vague and some lack evidence. But prosecutors said the defense’s arguments lack merit.

It’s not immediately known if the judge will address the requests made Tuesday from four attorneys to protect the names of the alleged victims when they testify in court. When a witness is called to testify, he or she must say his or her name and in most cases, spell it out for the court reporter to take it down as part of the official court record.

The Centre Daily Times does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.

In their motion, State College attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici wrote that disclosing the names of their clients, alleged victims No. 3 and No. 7 “would cause them tremendous additional fear, anxiety and mental anguish.”

David Williams, a Philadelphia attorney for alleged victim No. 5, joined that request.

“Although the testimony of the alleged Sandusky sexual abuse victims is of critical importance and the legitimate subject of media and public interest, personal information identifying Sandusky’s alleged victims is not,” Shubin and Andronici wrote.

Harrisburg attorney Ben Andreozzi, who represents alleged victim No. 4, said his client is 100 percent committed to testifying but wants to use a pseudonym so his name is not revealed. He said the young man’s psychologist thinks being identified would be traumatic and humiliating.

Andreozzi said the defense’s investigators have created an intimidating atmosphere already by questioning the friends and family of the alleged victims.

“At this point, the only protection the alleged victims have from the unrelenting attention and inevitable psychological devastation corresponding to their role in this case is the anonymity of their names,” Andreozzi wrote. “Stripping them of their only protection would be tantamount to ‘throwing them to the wolves.’ ”

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT