BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A Centre County judge questioned state prosecutors today on the specificity of information they provided about the child sexual abuse charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
But Judge John Cleland did not rule on the request by Joe Amendola, an attorney for Mr. Sandusky, that the state provide more specific timeframes for its allegations.
Mr. Amendola said in court this morning that the time periods given by the state for the alleged assaults are too broad to afford Mr. Sandusky an opportunity to defend himself. A bill of particulars filed by the state identifies specific dates for certain assaults but gives only years-long time periods for others.
Even if the alleged victims cannot provide exact dates, Mr. Amendola said in court, they should be able to provide details about the circumstances surrounding the incidents, some of which he said involved football games.
"Was it Syracuse? Was it Michigan? Was it a home game? Was it an away game?" Mr. Amendola said. "Things that might help us better identify this timeframe."
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph E. McGettigan III responded that the accusers are unable to provide more specific information about the timing of the incidents because of their youth at the time, the trauma of the occurrences and the passage of years since.
He said the state had provided sufficient information for Mr. Sandusky to defend himself.
Judge Cleland questioned Mr. McGettigan about his argument, asking at one point if he really thought the state had given Mr. Sandusky enough information to present a defense.
"Your argument is that constitutional due process is satisfied by an allegation that some event occurred some time during the four-year time span?" he asked.
Mr. McGettigan said that he believed the state's information was sufficient.
After the hearing, Mr. Amendola told reporters he would ask the judge to dismiss the case if prosecutors could not narrow the timeframe of the allegations. Mr. Sandusky is scheduled to go to trial in mid-May on 52 criminal counts.
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141