Local judge to oversee abuse hearing

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Robert Scott, a 74-year-old senior district judge from Murrysville, has been assigned to preside over the preliminary hearing in the state's sexual abuse case against former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts assigned Judge Scott to hear the case in response to a request from the Centre County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Scott, who is retired but remains available to hear cases by appointment, was chosen because he has no ties to Penn State or Mr. Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile.

That wasn't true for District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who presided over Mr. Sandusky's arraignment in Centre County on Nov. 5 and freed him on a $100,000 bond over the objections of the attorney general's office, which asked for a $500,000 bond and electronic monitoring.

After that hearing, it was revealed that Judge Dutchcot had done volunteer work for The Second Mile.

Reached at his home yesterday, Judge Scott declined to comment on the case or his appointment, citing judicial conduct rules.

The preliminary hearing will be held at the courthouse in Centre County on Dec. 7, although that date could change.

Lawmakers consider panel

State lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they plan to form a statewide panel to examine how Pennsylvania's laws may have failed to protect some of the children who came into contact with Mr. Sandusky.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, said resolutions are being drafted to create a bipartisan, bicameral commission, which will also include members from outside of state government.

Staffers said the goal is to have the panel created before lawmakers leave next month, and to have the commission report its findings within several months.

"The ultimate aim is to strengthen laws or close loopholes, so that what happened with Mr. Sandusky never happens again," said House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin.

Legislators immediately began calling for statutory changes following the state attorney general's announcement of the charges against the former Penn State defensive coordinator and two top university administrators.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said in a statement that he is "committed to a thoughtful process that produces stronger protections for children across the state."

House Minority Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, urged that the panel be "independent and impartial," and not include anyone who previously was part of the investigation.

New assault claim may emerge

A Harrisburg lawyer says he has a client who intends to testify that he was sexually assaulted by Mr. Sandusky.

The attorney, Ben Andreozzi, said in a statement Wednesday that he has his "finger on the pulse" of the case and that other alleged assault victims are coming forward. He says he'll say more about that later this week.

Mr. Andreozzi's statement comes two days after Mr. Sandusky asserted his innocence in a television interview.

Mr. Andreozzi says Mr. Sandusky's comments have revictimized people and that Penn State hasn't reached out to accusers to offer counseling.

The answering machine at the State College office of Joe Amendola, Mr. Sandusky's lawyer, is full and isn't accepting messages.

-- The Associated Press


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