In a brief appearance, the ex-coach accused of abusing boys at Penn State forfeited his right for a preliminary hearing, moving his case toward trial—and preventing testimony from his alleged victims for now. Read updates from the Pennsylvania courtroom.
Sandusky’s Courtroom Shocker
By Jessica Bennett and Jacob Bernstein
Was the sight of his alleged victims, suited up and prepared to testify against him, just too much for Jerry Sandusky to bear?
That was the theory being floated by Kenneth Suggs, a lawyer for the young man identified in the grand jury report as “Victim 6,” moments after Sandusky waived his right to a preliminary hearing and sent reporters packing.
“I'm calling him a coward,” said Suggs.
Slade McLaughlin, a lawyer for victim No.1, said he suspected the waiver was a precursor to a plea deal, but prosecutors said outside the courtroom that they have no indication of this from Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola. Amendola told The Daily Beast before court Tuesday that "Jerry continues to maintain his innocence and will enter a plea of not guilty and request a jury trial later today." After the hearing, Amendola reiterated that there would be no plea deal. "This is a fight to the death," he said.
Jerry Sandusky’s one chance for even the slightest glimmer of redemption is to announce that he intends to plead guilty and spare his victims the ordeal of a trial.
He took one step in the right direction on Tuesday, when he waived the right to a preliminary hearing, though he most likely did so to spare himself from being confronted by his accusers. Had he been thinking of the victims, he would not have left them still facing the prospect of testifying at the trial.
Unless the 10 complainants are all lying, and Sandusky really is as innocent as he insists in defiance of all sense and logic, his determination to subject his victims to more shame is just another form of abuse. The very fact that the victims have asked not to be publicly identified suggests how they likely feel about the prospect of appearing in a courtroom packed with 100 reporters.