Jerry Sandusky Gets Modified Bail
By Sophia Pearson and Phil Milford – Feb 13, 2012 11:36 AM ET
Jerry Sandusky, the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing 10 boys, will be allowed supervised visits with his grandchildren, a judge ruled, denying prosecutors’ requests for stricter limitations.
Sandusky, who is under home confinement, asked the court last month to modify his bail conditions so he could have visits with his 11 grandchildren, entertain friends and leave his home to help locate potential defense witnesses. State court Judge John M. Cleland in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, today granted the request, excluding visits with three grandchildren who are subject to custody litigation.
“The conditions of bail must always be analyzed bearing in mind the presumption of innocence and the purposes of bail,” Cleland said in his ruling.
Sandusky, 68, a former defensive coordinator for Penn State, is charged with more than 50 counts stemming from alleged abuse of boys over a 15-year period. He waived a preliminary hearing in December, and prosecutors said his case will go to trial. Cleland last week set a tentative trial date of May 14.
Witness Names Denied
Cleland also denied the state’s request for an out-of- county jury and ordered prosecutors to answer Sandusky’s request for information detailing the alleged offenses. He denied the former assistant coach’s request for the names, addresses and dates of birth of all potential witnesses.
Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for Attorney General Linda Kelly, said the rulings are “under review.”
Prosecutors had asked Cleland to impose new conditions confining Sandusky to the walls of his home after neighbors complained about the proximity of his residence to an elementary school. Prosecutors also said that the ex-wife of Sandusky’s son Matthew Sandusky objected to her three children having contact with the former coach.
Cleland said he would defer decision on Matthew Sandusky’s children to the judge in the custody case. Cleland said Sandusky may provide the probation department with a list of as many as 12 people he wants authorized to visit. The program coordinator at the probation department may approve all, some or none of the names on the list, Cleland said.
The state failed to present any evidence that Sandusky presents a threat to students at the nearby school, Cleland said.
“The generalized concerns of parents, while understandable, cannot justify additional bail restrictions in the absence of some evidence from the Commonwealth that the defendant’s presence or behavior on his deck presents a danger to the community,” Cleland wrote in a 13-page order.
The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Sandusky, CP- 14-2422-2011, Court of Common Pleas, Centre County, Pennsylvania (Bellefonte).
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com