Sandusky waives hearing; Penn State sex-abuse case heads to trial
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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who had been expected to face some of his accusers in court today in his sexual-abuse case, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and now appears headed for trial on charges that toppled the university’s president and its revered head football coach, Joe Paterno.
Hundreds of reporters and spectators lined up before sunrise in the small Pennsylvania town of Bellefonte, in Centre County, in hopes of getting a seat in court for what had been expected to be a dramatic encounter. It would have been the first time that Sandusky, who faces charges he used his position as assistant football coach to rape and molest young boys, had faced his now-adult accusers since the case exploded last month.
Sandusky, 67, has denied doing anything wrong, but prosecutors and a 23-page grand jury report portrayed him as a predator who lured young boys with tickets to big games, cash and other gifts. the report said he found his alleged victims through a charity he founded that helped underprivileged youth.
Since the initial grand jury report citing eight victims was unsealed, two more men have come forward alleging Sandusky abused them. He now faces more than 50 charges involving at least 10 boys who say the rapes and molestations occurred on the Penn State campus, in Sandusky’s home and elsewhere.
Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, and Paterno were fired amid allegations that university officials mishandled concerns about Sandusky’s behavior for years and failed to alert either campus police or other law enforcement authorities.
The case has also prompted alleged victims of abuse at Syracuse University to come forward. That school’s assistant basketball coach, Bernie Fine, was fired after two men accused him of molesting them in the 1980s. Fine says he’s not guilty of the accusations.
Sandusky remains confined to his home wearing an electronic monitoring device.
-- Tina Susman in New York