Jerry Sandusky Jury Seated: Most Have Strong Penn State Ties
(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) — One member of the jury selected for former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse trial is a professor at the university who has read the entire grand jury report that indicted Sandusky.
Also on the panel is a student who arrived wearing a Penn State shirt, just finished his junior year at the school and works in Penn State’s sports facility.
The two-day jury selection process was so deliberate that the first person interviewed — a middle-aged white woman who works at Walmart and has two daughters — was picked to sit on the panel.
A woman in her 70s who is a retired bus driver joined the group despite telling the court, “I just can’t see our children hurt.”
Yet another juror is a 30-year-old Penn State graduate student who told the court that Sandusky spoke at her graduation.
The judge and lawyers were expected to seat a jury Wednesday. The first 13 jurors include five men and eight women. More jurors will be selected to ensure there are several alternates.
Eight of the first 13 jurors have a connection to Penn State.
That many of the jurors have ties to Penn State was almost unavoidable in Centre County, which is dominated by the university.
Judge John Cleland conceded that it might be hard for one particular juror to put aside his emotional ties to the school, but added, “I hope it’s hard for everyone. If it’s easy, we have the wrong jury.”
Sandusky, 58, is charged with 52 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 boys. The former Penn State assistant football coach allegedly preyed on boys through the Second Mile charity that he helped create.
Testimony in the trial is scheduled to begin Monday with opening statements. The first witness is expected to be “Victim 4,” who is now 28 and will support his accusations with “creepy” love letters that Sandusky allegedly sent to him.
The charges against Sandusky rocked the university and resulted in the dismissal of the school’s president, Graham Spanier, as well as the school’s revered football coach, Joe Paterno. Paterno, 85, died of cancer in January, shortly after he was fired by the school.
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