Sandusky case judge rejects motions to dismiss charges

Front Lines: Sandusky jurors

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    Front Lines: Sandusky jurors

Front Lines: Sandusky jurors 01:59

Story highlights

  • 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

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.

      Scandal at Penn State

    • The family of Joe Paterno plans to file a lawsuit Thursday against the NCAA seeking to overturn its sanctions against Penn State University over a child sex abuse scandal.
    • Penn State students work on a banner at "Nittanyville" outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania, on Friday.

      In many ways, football is life at Penn State, a tradition synonymous with the campus. Nittany Lion fans are deeply religious about their football. Now, they begin a new era.
    • The site sits empty on Sunday where the Paterno statue once stood.

      It's an old, old story. We've all placed people on pedestals, and then, almost inevitably, they let us down. They violate our trust. They betray us. They fall off the pedestal, or we remove them.
    • BTS.Emmert.Penn State Sanctions_00002615

      The NCAA announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University and stripped 14 seasons of football victories from the late head coach Joe Paterno.
    • STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Head coach Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions look on before facing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium on October 23, 2004 in State College, Pennsylvania.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 6-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

      The most powerful former leaders at Penn State University have been accused of showing "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims.
    • With the same decision announced on count after count -- guilty, guilty, guilty -- Jerry Sandusky's emphatic denials he had sexually abused boys became obsolete.
    • Jerry Sandusky admitted showering with boys but denied the sex accusations. Here is what Sandusky has said publicly in the months before the trial.
    • Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse following his child sexual-abuse trial on June 18, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Today the defense began their argument in the sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is charged with 52 criminal counts of alleged sexual abuse of children.

      Jerry Sandusky's writings in a 2000 memoir about the difficult relationship with his adopted son are similar to several letters he wrote to a boy now known as alleged victim No. 4.
    • Holloway Sandusky

      The words came haltingly, punctuated by ragged sighs, groans and cracking voices as two teenage boys bared their darkest secrets to a packed courtroom.