Sandusky waives hearing, vows to fight charges
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky opted against forcing his accusers to make their claims of child sex abuse in a packed courtroom Tuesday but then took his case to the courthouse steps as his lawyer assailed the credibility of the alleged victims and witnesses.
“There will be no plea negotiations,” defense lawyer Joseph Amendola said. “This is a fight to the death.”
Waiving such a preliminary hearing is not unusual but it was unexpected in this case: Amendola repeatedly had said his client was looking forward to facing his accusers. Afterward, he called the cancellation a “tactical decision” to prevent the men from reiterating the same claims they made to the grand jury.
Lawyers for the alleged victims said some were relieved they would not have to make their claims in public before a trial, but others said they had steeled themselves to face Sandusky and were left disappointed.
“It would have been apparent from watching those boys and their demeanor that they were telling the truth,” said Howard Janet, a lawyer for a boy whose mother contacted police in 1998 after her son allegedly showered with Sandusky.
Sandusky has denied the allegations, which led to the departures of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and the university president. He is charged with more than 50 counts that accuse him of sexually abusing 10 boys over the span of 12 years.
Amendola said he believed some of the young men may have trumped up their claims and others may came forward in a bid to make money by suing Sandusky, Penn State and the charity Sandusky founded.
“We’re pursuing a financial motivation,” Amendola said, “Finances and money are great motivators.”
Sandusky told reporters as he left the courthouse that he would “stay the course, to fight for four quarters” and “wait for the opportunity to present our side.”