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Sandusky case judge rejects motions to dismiss charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Sat June 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Penn State puts finishing touches on policy about reporting child abuse
  • Judge John Cleland rejected defense motions alleging vague charges, insufficient evidence
  • Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing boys for more than 15 years
  • A jury of five men and seven women has been seated to hear the trial

(CNN) -- The judge overseeing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse trial denied defense motions Friday to dismiss the charges in the case, clearing the way for opening statements in the trial on Monday.

Sandusky is accused of 52 counts of sexual misconduct involving young boys. His lawyers had sought to have the charges dismissed, arguing that some were too vague and that there is insufficient evidence on others.

Judge John Cleland's ruling came as Penn State put the finishing touches on a policy requiring all university employees to get training on reporting child abuse. Any university employee who fails to report suspected abuse will face disciplinary action, the school said in a statement.

The judge did not explain his reasons for denying the defense motions to dismiss the charges against Sandusky. The decision came after both sides settled on a jury of five men and seven women to hear the case.

The former Penn State defensive coordinator has been under house arrest since he was charged with sexually abusing 10 boys, some of whom he met through a charity he created for underprivileged children.

The charges against him include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.

Sandusky, 68, has denied the charges.

Sandusky's lawyers had argued that accusations in the most high-profile part of the case -- involving an allegation that Sandusky molested a boy in the shower in the Penn State football complex -- should be dismissed because prosecutors have not identified the boy.

The allegation comes from former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who reported seeing Sandusky engaged in what appeared to be sexual contact with a boy in 2002.

The failure of Penn State coach Joe Paterno and two university administrators to fully act on the allegations cost them their jobs and led to the resignation of the university president. Paterno has since died.

The defense team argued that prosecutors have not been able to identify one of the other alleged victims and said there was too little evidence to proceed to trial on another.

Five other charges should be dismissed because the allegations lacked details such as the times, dates and locations where prosecutors would argue that criminal conduct had occurred.

In responding to Sandusky's motions in May, prosececutors labeled them a "confused melange" that relies on inappropriate laws and standards.

Among other things, they argued that Pennsylvania law gives prosecutors broad discretion in citing dates of attacks involving children.

Other motions rejected by Cleland include a request for prosecutors to hand over a written statement of other sexual misconduct allegations they intend to introduce at trial and a request to compel cell phone companies to hand over phone records that defense lawyers say will provide evidence of collusion among alleged victims.

InSession's Jessica Thill and Lena Jakobsson contributed to this report.

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