Sandusky's move to waive hearing spares alleged victims from witness stand, for now

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse Dec. 13, 2011, in Bellefonte, Pa.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse Dec. 13, 2011, in Bellefonte, Pa.
Getty Images

(CBS/AP) BELLEFONTE, Pa. - The move by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky  to waive a preliminary hearing in his sex-abuse case Tuesday, spared his accusers from making their claims in a packed courtroom. 

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

Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Marc Costanzo said Sandusky's decision was not unusual given the strength of the state's case.

"This development we believe provides maximum protection to most importantly the victims in this case," he said. "It avoids their having to testify for a second time. They will of course testify at a trial in the case."

Michael Boni, a lawyer for one of the accusers, said he felt encouraged by the news. He said the accusers "do not have to relive the horrors they experience up on the witness stand" by having to testify at both the hearing and at a trial.

Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, called the decision "tactical," and said to reporters outside the courthouse that the credibility of the witnesses would be a key issue.

Amendola said he believed some of the young men may have trumped up their claims and that others may come forward in a bid for monetary gain. "There will be no plea negotiations," he said. "This is a fight to the death."

The lawyer for the victim whose mother contacted police in 1998 after her son allegedly showered with the ex-coach said waiving the hearing amounted to more abuse of the accusers, who had prepared themselves to testify.

Some alleged victims were relieved they would not have to make their claims in public before a trial, but others said they had made themselves ready to face Sandusky and were disappointed they would not be able to testify.

An attorney for one of the accusers, Ken Suggs, called Sandusky a "coward" for not facing the young men.

Ben Andreozzi, a lawyer for another accuser, read a statement from his client.

"I can't believe they put us through this until the last second," the statement read. "I will stand my ground, testify and speak the truth." His client called this time the most difficult of his life.

"It would have been apparent from watching those boys and their demeanor that they were telling the truth," lawyer Howard Janet said.

Sandusky's next court appearance will be an arraignment scheduled for Jan. 11. He remains under house arrest.

Complete coverage of Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State sex abuse scandal on Crimesider


Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App