BELLEFONTE, Pa., June 6 (Reuters) - Jury selection ended on
Wednesday in the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State
University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, setting the
stage for arguments to begin next week in a case that rocked
The seven women and five men on the jury will consider the
charges against Sandusky - 52 counts of molesting 10 boys over a
15-year period. He has pleaded not guilty and faces more than
500 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors have accused Sandusky, 68, of meeting the boys
through a charity he founded, the Second Mile, and have claimed
that some of the assaults occurred at Penn State facilities.
"The trial in this case will start on Monday morning. We
anticipate that it will take at most three weeks and be done by
the last day of June," Judge John Cleland said on Wednesday.
The sexual abuse charges shook the school, prompted the
firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and university
President Graham Spanier, and put an unprecedented focus on
A number of jurors have close ties to Penn State,
illustrating the university's central role in the community. One
is a professor there, one works as an administrative assistant,
another is a dance teacher in the continuing education program,
and one is a 2007 graduate of the university.
The white-haired Sandusky, who wore tan slacks and a sport
coat, seemed increasingly upbeat and animated as jury selection
progressed on Wednesday.
During a lull in the proceedings, he joked with reporters,
laughing: "What did you guys do to deserve me? How did you guys
get stuck with this? Ay yi yi."
Along with the 12 regular jurors, four alternates were
Paterno, the winningest coach in major U.S. college football
history, died of lung cancer in January, just over two months
after his firing. Potential jurors were told his wife Sue and
son Jay may be called as witnesses in the trial.
Experts had wrongly predicted a prolonged jury selection
process from a 220-member pool, given the close-knit ties of the
area's small towns and farms and Penn State's role as the
biggest local employer.
Cleland previously told potential jurors that he would not
sequester them once the trial begins.
All media except for pool reporters have been banned from
jury selection in Bellefonte, a town of 6,200 residents about 10
miles (16 km) northeast of State College, the site of Penn
State's main campus.
The case has drawn intense media attention, with about two
dozen television trucks parked outside the Greek Revival
courthouse in Bellefonte's 19th-century downtown and reporters
crowding the courthouse lawn.
Opening arguments are expected to take place Monday.
ABC News reported that intimate love letters from Sandusky
to one of his accusers, described in court documents as Victim
4, would be read into testimony once the trial began. The
letters were reported to be in the former coach's handwriting.
Citing sources close to the case, ABC said Victim 4, now 28,
was expected to be the first witness to testify. He met Sandusky
through the Second Mile and is expected to show gifts, including
golf clubs, Sandusky gave him during their alleged relationship,
the network said.
Victim 4's attorney, Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi,
confirmed in a statement that letters were written to Victim 4
but he would not comment on the contents.
(This story was written by Reuters correspondent Ian Simpson
and was partly based on information provided by a pool reporter
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