Saturday 15 December 2018

Disgraced American football coach denied new trial over child sex abuse charges

File photo of former Penn State University assistant American football coach Jerry Sandusky arriving for an appeal hearing (AP)
File photo of former Penn State University assistant American football coach Jerry Sandusky arriving for an appeal hearing (AP)

Disgraced former American football coach Jerry Sandusky lost a bid on Wednesday for a new trial and a second chance to convince a jury he is innocent of the child sexual abuse charges that landed him in state prison to serve a lengthy sentence.

Judge John Foradora denied Sandusky's requests for a new trial or for dismissal of charges.

The former Penn State assistant football coach's lawyers have 30 days to start an appeal against the judge's decision to the Superior Court.

Sandusky, 73, has consistently maintained he was wrongly convicted.

He argued that he did not receive adequate representation at his 2012 trial and that prosecutors should have disclosed more details about changes to victims' stories.

"Although he was denied access to the victims' psychological records, Sandusky was permitted to call witnesses to explore whether the victims had undergone repressed memory therapy prior to trial, and he did explore that subject" with victims and other witnesses, Mr Foradora wrote.

Mr Foradora also rejected arguments that Sandusky's lawyers should not have let him waive a preliminary hearing, should not have allowed him to give a television interview after his arrest, and should have done more to challenge the identity of a young man described as Victim Two in court records.

The judge said the bulk of Sandusky's claims lacked merit.

"Those that remain, whether they fail for want of prejudice or because (trial defence lawyer Joe) Amendola's actions or failure to act were informed by a reasonable strategy, do not combine to call into question the overall effectiveness of the defence counsel provided or the legitimacy of the verdict," Mr Foradora concluded.

Sandusky has been serving a 30- to 60-year sentence.

Eight of his accusers gave evidence at trial, describing abuse that ranged from grooming and fondling to violent sexual attacks.

The case, among the biggest scandals in college football history, led to major structural and procedural changes at Penn State and a host of new state laws governing child abuse in Pennsylvania and other states.

Sandusky spent three decades at the university as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno before retiring in 1999.

The decision follows previous rulings against Sandusky by the state's Supreme and Superior courts.


Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News