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Judge to weigh dueling proposals to modify Sandusky's bail, use of out-of-county jury
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) ' Dueling requests to modify the bail conditions Friday for former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky will pit neighbors' fears he's a danger to children against the defense claim the one-time assistant to Joe Paterno deserves to see his grandchildren.
Bail restrictions and the possible use of an out-of-county jury will be among the issues presented to Judge John M. Cleland at Sandusky's pretrial hearing.
The state attorney general's office has asked for tougher bail rules, arguing that the provisions of Sandusky's house arrest should be altered to require him to stay indoors after neighbors complained they've seen him on his back porch, watching children play in a nearby schoolyard.
Sandusky's attorney counters that his client has satisfied the rules of his release and the restrictions on him should be eased so he can see his family.
Cleland has asked defense and prosecution lawyers to narrow the disputes on which he will have to rule, a list that includes whether Sandusky should be given transcripts of secret grand jury testimony before trial, and which other records prosecutors must turn over.
Sandusky arrived at the courthouse in a suit Friday morning, entering through the same entrance he used in December for a preliminary hearing that was abruptly waived.
Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for alleged sexual misconduct involving boys over 15 years, actions that police and prosecutors say have included violent sexual assault inside the Penn State football team facilities. He has denied the allegations.
Prosecutors have said the special position Penn State holds for people in Centre County would make it a challenge for jurors there to render a fair verdict. Sandusky, 68, wants a Centre County jury.
Both sides want to change the rules of Sandusky's house arrest. He is seeking permission to allow his 11 grandchildren to visit his home, accompanied by a parent, as well as to be allowed to communicate with them by phone or computer.
The attorney general's office, on the other hand, has asked Cleland to restrict Sandusky indoors, citing concerns raised for the safety of nearby school children.
"Such concerns will only mushroom if defendant is permitted to roam at will outside his house," they said.
In response, Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola said safety concerns were unfounded, and that Sandusky has complied with bail rules in the months since his arrest.
Pennsylvania's speedy trial rules give the state a year from the filing of the complaint to bring a defendant to trial, unless he or she is in jail, then the limit is six months. No trial date has been set.
Sandusky was arrested on two sets of charges, filed against him in November and December.
The scandal led the Penn State trustees to push out university president Graham Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno, who died last month.
Two Penn State administrators are awaiting trial on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating Sandusky and failed to properly report suspected child abuse. Gary Schultz, a former vice president, and Tim Curley, the athletic director, have both denied the allegations.