Sandusky asks court to allow visits with grandchildren

HARRISBURG, Pa Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:00am EST

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (L) sits in his car with his wife Dottie after departing from a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold him for trial on charges of sexually abusing boys, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, December 13, 2011.    REUTERS/Pat Little

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (L) sits in his car with his wife Dottie after departing from a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold him for trial on charges of sexually abusing boys, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, December 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Pat Little

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HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) - Former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is under house arrest on charges of child sexual abuse, has asked a Pennsylvania court to allow supervised visits with his grandchildren that are now prohibited.

Sandusky, 67, faces 52 criminal charges that he molested 10 boys over a 15 year period and has been tethered to his house under the terms of his release on bail in December that barred contact with anyone under age 18. He has maintained his innocence.

In a motion filed Friday, Joe Amendola, attorney for the former Penn State defensive coordinator, asked the Centre County Court to modify the terms of Sandusky's release to permit supervised contact with his 11 grandchildren.

"The Defendant's minor grandchildren have expressed their sadness to their parents about not being able to visit or talk with the Defendant since November 5, 2011," Amendola wrote.

If his grandchildren were allowed to visit him at his State College home, they would be accompanied by at least one parent, according to the motion.

Amendola is also asking the court to allow Sandusky to communicate with his grandchildren by mail, email, telephone, or by Skyping, a type of video-chatting over the Internet.

Sandusky was charged November 5 with 40 counts of molesting eight boys over a 15 year period. He had been freed after posting $100,000 after those charges were filed in November.

In December, he was arrested a second time and prosecutors added charges that raised the number of sex abuse victims to 10. He has been under house arrest since he was freed on $250,000 bail following his second arrest with restrictions.

Prosecutors say Sandusky used his position as head of The Second Mile charity to find his victims. Sandusky started The Second Mile charity to help troubled disadvantaged children.

His grandchildren are not the only people Sandusky would like to be in contact with.

Amendola said Sandusky wants "reasonable visitation" by friends at his home and he wants the ability to leave his home "for the purposes of assisting his attorneys, private investigators, and other professional individuals retained by the Defendant in the preparation of his defense."

The charges against Sandusky caused an avalanche of top-down changes at Penn State. Soon after his arrest, the school's board of trustees fired iconic head football coach Joe Paterno, who died of lung cancer on Sunday, and university president Graham Spanier.

Also on Friday, Amendola followed up a request for prosecutors to turn over the names of the people who accused Sandusky and the details of those crimes. The attorney said a week had passed since his original request.

Centre County Court Judge John Cleland is scheduled to consider both matters on February 10. Prosecutors have until February 3 to file responses to the requests.

(Editing by David Bailey)

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