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The jury selection began 5 June 2012 for the trial of ex-assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky, age 68, is charged with fifty-two counts of sexual abuse of ten boys over a fifteen year period. Sandusky has admitted to showering with some of the young boys but has denied allegations of sexual abuse.
Sandusky was arrested in November of 2010, which threw the Penn State community into chaos. Riots began after Sandusky, Head Coach Paterno, and president of the university, Graham Spanier, were fired. Paterno and Spanier were both fired due to their attempts to try cover up the allegations. Riots broke out in protest of the firing of the head coach, as Penn State has a history of dedicated and proud fans.
Mike McQueary, another Penn State assistant coach who is currently on leave from the team, claims that he saw Sandusky naked in a team shower with a young boy in 2002. McQueary reportedly told head coach Paterno and athletic direct Tim Curley but no one told the police. Paterno died of lung cancer in January 2012, but Curley has since been charged with perjury and failing to report a crime along with senior vice president of finance and business at Penn State Gary Schultz.
The judge has denied appeals by the defense to delay the trial but he also required that the trial remain in the Penn State area, making it difficult to find jurors who are not connected to the Penn State football team or to Sandusky’s charity, Second Mile. One middle-aged woman who has been selected as a juror was a season ticket holder to the Penn State football team; some wonder how this will color her perceptions of the case.
The judge has also declared that Twitter and email reporting from the courtroom will not be allowed. Additionally, the judge has rejected allowing the ten boys to use pseudonyms meaning that they must use their real names at trial. One lawyer for one of the victims claimed, “it’s almost as if [the victim is] being branded with a scarlet letter.” However the judge claimed, “secrecy is thought to be inconsistent with the openness required to assure the public that the law is being administered fairly and applied faithfully.”
Since Sandusky’s arrest in November even more victims have come forward. Many of these victims met Sandusky through his Second Mile Foundation – created in 1977 – a charity for at-risk children.
According to a recently released report, in 1998 a psychologist, Alycia Chambers, told police that Sandusky was likely a pedophile. Chambers was involved in the investigation of a case in 1998 when a mother alleged that Sandusky had showered with her son. No arrests were made at the time although the mother did confront Sandusky who reportedly stated, “I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”