PA High Court Won’t Hear Sandusky Appeal
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation conviction will not be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, under an order issued Wednesday.
Sandusky asked the court to take up his 45-count conviction, arguing his lawyers were rushed too quickly to trial in 2012 and that prosecutors improperly made reference to his decision not to testify.
He also said the trial judge should have issued a jury instruction about how long it took his victims to report the abuse and that jurors should not have been told to weigh evidence of his good character against all other evidence.
The state attorney general’s office had countered that Sandusky did not provide sufficient basis for the Supreme Court to take up the matter, and that decisions made by the trial judge did not violate his rights.
Sandusky, 70, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys. His lawyer said he is disappointed the court denied his appeal.
Eight of his victims testified at trial, describing a range of abuse from grooming and fondling to oral and anal sex, including attacks in the basement of Sandusky’s home outside State College. Another witness, a graduate assistant for the team who had been a quarterback for the Nittany Lions, testified he saw Sandusky having sexual contact with a boy inside a team shower late on a Friday night.
Sandusky did not testify on his own behalf but has maintained his innocence. His lawyer has said the victims’ testimony was motivated by a desire to cash in. Penn State announced last year it was paying $59.7 million to 26 people who had raised claims of abuse at Sandusky’s hands.
His defense lawyers repeatedly sought delays before trial, saying they were swamped by an enormous amount of material from prosecutors and needed more time to examine the background of his accusers.
During a post-sentencing hearing, however, defense attorney Joe Amendola acknowledged that he had not discovered anything afterward that would have changed his trial strategy.
Sandusky’s 2011 arrest led to the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno and significant penalties levied against the school by the NCAA. Paterno was stripped of 111 of his 409 career wins while the school was fined $60 million, banned from bowl games for four years and faced steep scholarship cuts.
Three other high-ranking school officials, including the then-president, face charges they covered up complaints about Sandusky. Their case has not yet gone to trial.
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