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Judge delays Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial by three weeks

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing in Bellefonte, Pa. Pennsylvania state prosecutors and Jerry Sandusky's lawyers are due in court Monday, March 12, 2012 to argue before a judge about how much information the attorney general's office should have to reveal before the trial. AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse.
File,AP Photo/Alex Brandon

(CBS) HARRISBURG, Pa. - Judge John Cleland, overseeing former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse case on Thursday, delayed the start of the trial by three weeks to early June.

Pictures: Who's who in the Penn State abuse scandal

Judge Cleland said the additional time was needed "to accommodate the various logistical contingencies that have arisen," and the attorney general's office supported the postponement.

The Morning Call reports that in papers filed last week, Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, attacked the state's case from several angles, arguing that some charges are too vague to defend against, others are based on the testimony of too few witnesses, and that many are outside the time period in which charges could be filed.

The prosecution's 21-page answer to those filings said the commonwealth had "broad latitude" to establish the dates of allegations in child sexual abuse cases. Sandusky has asked for more specifics about when the alleged crimes occurred.

Responding to Sandusky's complaint that the dates of the alleged crimes are too vague, chief deputy attorney general Frank Fina wrote that state courts have held prosecutors need not provide precise dates in child sex cases, especially when the alleged abuse occurred over a long period of time.

Fina wrote that because the five-year deadline to file charges had not passed, even for the eldest of those eight accusers, when the statute of limitations was extended to 12 years, the longer deadline applies.

The 68-year-old retired Penn State defensive coordinator faces 52 counts involving 10 alleged victims over 15 years. He remains confined to his home to await trial, and has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Cleland said a hearing remains scheduled for April 5 in Bellefonte to argue over the pretrial issues.

Complete coverage of the Penn State sex abuse scandal on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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