Reporting Tony Romeo
By Tony Romeo and Oren Liebermann
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (CBS) – The judge in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case will decide soon about whether the former Penn State defensive coordinator will be allowed to see his grandchildren. The judge adjourned Friday morning’s pretrial hearing without making any decisions, saying he will issue his ruling soon.
Sandusky smiled as he walked up to the Centre County courthouse in Bellefonte. His hearing lasted about an hour and a half. Then, for the first time in two months, he spoke to the media.
Hear Jerry Sandusky’s comments to reporters in this CBS Philly “In The Raw” podcast …
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“I’m grateful for the people who have stood beside me and given me the opportunity at some point in time to reach out and express our feelings,” said Sandusky.
Sandusky spoke mostly about the desire to see his grandchildren, something he is not allowed to do under his bail conditions and house arrest.
“When [Dottie] comes home from visiting with grandchildren and she tells me that my grandchildren say, ‘The only thing I want for my birthday is to see pop,’ I’m sensitive to that,” Sandusky says.
In addition to asking for permission to see his grandchildren, Sandusky and his lawyers asked for limited and supervised visitation from close friends and permission to leave his house with his lawyer.
The prosecution argued that Sandusky, who is on house arrest, should be more restricted than his current bail conditions require, because some neighbors have been complaining that he goes out on his porch and watches children playing at an elementary school next door.
An agent from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office testified that some of the children taking part in after-school programs complained about seeing “that man out there.”
Sandusky’s own attorneys want their client to be allowed to see his grandchildren.
And both sides also argued today about whether a jury should be brought in from outside the county. In a reversal from the typical positions (when a local jury is sometimes seen as “tainted”), the defense was opposing an outside jury.
Sandusky’s attorneys say the Centre County jury will give a fair trial. They say the accusers aren’t all local. They say the legal question for a jury has nothing to do with Sandusky or Penn State or Second Mile.
“In small communities, everyone knows everybody and knows everything. But that’s not the question. The question is can they put that aside and be a fair juror?” said Karl Rominger, one of Sandusky’s lawyers.
The judge has set his sights on a mid-May trial date, but Sandusky’s lawyers say it may take longer to look through thousands of pages of evidence.
Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing an underage boy in a locker room shower at Penn State University. The accusations brought down both Penn State president Graham Spanier and legendary longtime football coach Joe Paterno, who died last month at age 85.