Judge deals setback to Sandusky in child sex abuse case

Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:22pm EDT

1 of 3. Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State defensive coordinator, speaks with the media outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania February 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pat Little

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(Reuters) - A lawyer for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky vowed to seek a dismissal of child sex abuse charges against his client after a judge on Tuesday refused to force prosecutors to provide more details on the allegations.

Judge John Cleland rejected attorney Joe Amendola's request for more information such as exact dates of the purported molestations, details that Amendola said were crucial to building a defense against 52 counts of sexual abuse.

Instead the judge in Pennsylvania's Centre County Court sided with prosecutors, who said they had already extracted as much information as possible from the accusers, described by prosecutor Joe McGettigan as "very troubled children" who were now adults.

"If the victims were capable of providing detail ... we would have done so," McGettigan said.

Several of the accusers allege in court documents the abuse occurred over several years, including one who said it began when he was 8 and lasted six years.

"Any order directing the Commonwealth to supply details would be a futile act since the Commonwealth has explained it cannot supply the details requested," the judge wrote, using Commonwealth to refer to the state.

In response, Amendola said he will seek a dismissal of the charges.

Amendola told reporters on Monday he believed Sandusky's right to due process was being violated.

Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence, is under house arrest. Jury selection in his trial is set to begin in mid-May.

The sex abuse scandal rocked the world of college football and led to the dismissal of Penn State's legendary coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier.

The university's Board of Trustees said both men showed a "failure of leadership" in not doing more when alerted to suspicions of child sexual abuse by Sandusky.

Paterno, who was head coach at the football powerhouse for 46 years, died of lung cancer in January.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Daniel Trotta)

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