Judge gives Sandusky lawyer accusers' contact info
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Prosecutors on Tuesday were ordered to give Jerry Sandusky's lawyer the phone numbers and addresses of those who have accused the former Penn State assistant football coach of child sex abuse.
It was a pretrial win for Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, who argued in a filing late last week that it would be very difficult for defense investigators to locate and try to interview them without first getting contact information from prosecutors. The order also extends to the phone numbers and addresses of the accusers when the crimes are alleged to have occurred.
The order by Judge John Cleland could also lead to the prosecution turning over any psychological evaluations performed on the accusers, but the attorney general's office was given another week to try to persuade him they are protected by legal privilege and not subject to disclosure.
The psychological evaluations would be produced under seal, and Amendola wouldn't be allowed to do more than read them without getting the judge's prior approval.
Amendola is specifically seeking a psychologist's report related to a person described as Victim 6 in a grand jury report, saying he believes it contains a conclusion that Sandusky didn't sexually abuse the boy. The grand jury said Victim 6's mother complained to authorities after he showered with Sandusky in 1998. The subsequent investigation by Penn State police didn't result in any charges.
Ben Andreozzi, the lawyer for another accuser, said Amendola was trying to put the victims on trial and create distractions. He said Amendola "knows better than to contact my client.''
"Mr. Sandusky knows what he did to these young men, so he would be wise not to challenge the veracity of their allegations at trial,'' Andreozzi said. "Instead, I anticipate he will continue to raise irrelevant issues while grasping at straws, trying to create reasonable doubt.''
Amendola said he was only seeking information he was legally entitled to as he prepares a defense for Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence from the outset. The 68-year-old Sandusky awaits a scheduled mid-May start of trial on 52 criminal counts. Prosecutors say he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years.
Cleland required prosecutors to disclose juvenile adjudication records that might help Amendola attack the credibility of any witness the state plans to call at trial.
That does not apply to drug or alcohol violations, however, and Amendola had argued that several accusers used drugs and alcohol as juveniles, which he said might affect their ability to testify accurately.
Cleland's order said requests for grand jury information must first be made to the judge who oversees the secret panel. If that judge says grand jury secrecy prevents their release, Cleland said he intends to abide by that decision. Otherwise, Cleland said, he will reconsider Amendola's request.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the latest filing.