It was exactly seven months ago when Jerry Sandusky was first charged with sexually abusing boys. Now his trial is set to begin, one of the most high-profile trials this state has ever seen.
Sandusky’s attorneys have tried for weeks to get the trial delayed, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shot down a last attempt on Monday, setting the stage for jury selection on Tuesday.
With Jerry Sandusky’s arrest last November came details of crimes that shocked the nation; the longtime Penn State assistant coach charged with sexually assaulting eight boys.
A month later, Sandusky was charged with molesting two more, bringing the total number of victims to ten.
Those accusations have had much of America buzzing for seven months.
First comes the challenge of finding a jury to put aside all they have heard about this case.
There has been national media saturation about the accusations but no where more than in Centre County. At Sandusky’s request, that’s where a pool of 600 potential jurors is coming from.
The court must find jurors who will essentially forget about the interviews Sandusky has given.
“I say that I am innocent of those charges,” said Sandusky.
“Innocent, completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?” asked Bob Costas.
“Well, I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them. I have touched their legs. Without intent of sexual contact,” said Sandusky.
Each development in this case has been all over the news, from Sandusky canceling his preliminary hearing at the last minute to numerous attempts at getting this trial delayed to his attorneys efforts to get charges thrown out.
Jurors will have to put aside judgement on all of that.
They also have to forget about accusations from neighbors that Sandusky was watching children play at a nearby school while on house arrest.
“Our home has been open for 27 years to all kinds of people. People who have stayed there, hundreds of people who have stayed there, more than that who have visited there. I have associated with thousands of young people over the years,” said Sandusky.
The Sandusky case has tarnished and brought down administrators at Centre County’s beloved Penn State.
It brought about the firing of this county’s most admired man, Joe Paterno.
The task now is to find jurors here who can separate all their emotions, all they have heard and judge fairly.
Prospective jurors are to show up at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte first thing Tuesday morning. Then the process begins trying to chose 12 jurors and the alternates from that group.
The judge hopes to have that done by the end of this week with opening statements starting on Monday.
If a jury cannot be found in Centre County, there will be a delay and the judge says a jury pool from another county will have to be brought in for another round of jury selection.