Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, failed to persuade a state judge to throw out his conviction for child sexual abuse or alter a sentence that may keep imprisoned for life.
Sandusky, sentenced to at least 30 years of confinement, argued that he had insufficient time to prepare a defense and that prosecutors didn’t produce enough evidence to support the charges against him. Judge John Cleland in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, who oversaw the trial, rejected the ex-coach’s arguments.
“This is simply not a case where trial counsel’s inability to review before trial all of the discovery material produced can be said to have resulted in a ‘structural defect’ that made the lack of a fair trial a virtual certainty,” Cleland said today in a written ruling.
Sandusky intends to appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, one of two statewide intermediate appellate courts, his attorney Norris Gelman said in a phone interview. The action will be filed in about two weeks, he said.
Sandusky, 69, was found guilty in June of 45 counts of abusing boys over a 15-year period. He is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.
The issues his attorneys raised in seeking a new trial included Cleland’s denial of requests to delay the proceedings and the judge’s alleged error of failing to dismiss the charges for lack of specificity. The lawyers also argued that Cleland should have instructed the jury on character evidence.
Cleland’s ruling rejected every one of Sandusky’s contentions.
“The lack of specificity of dates has not affected the defendant’s ability to present an alibi defense because alibi has never been an issue,” Cleland wrote. “The defendant has simply argued the offenses did not happen.”
At least six alleged victims have filed lawsuits over the abuse. Penn State said in September that it plans to compensate Sandusky’s victims with money from insurance policies and funds set aside from interest on internal loans.
In a related case, former school President Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, a former vice president and ex-Athletic Director Tim Curley, were charged with perjury and endangering the welfare of a child for their roles in allegedly covering up a 2001 sex-abuse allegation against Sandusky. A trial hasn’t been scheduled in that case.
The Sandusky case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Sandusky, CP-14-2422-CR-2011, Court of Common Pleas, Centre County, Pennsylvania (Bellefonte).
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