published Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Sandusky at Pennsylvania courthouse for start of trial

  • photo
    Judge John M. Cleland, left, and his wife Julie walk outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, June 4, 2012. Judge Cleland will preside over the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State college football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GENARO C. ARMAS and MARK SCOLFORO

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky arrived Tuesday morning at the central Pennsylvania courthouse where he will stand trial on 52 counts of child sexual abuse.

The former Penn State assistant football coach will be on hand as his lawyers and prosecutors begin to choose the 12-person jury that will decide his guilt or innocence.

Sandusky and his lawyer made no comments as they exited their vehicle outside the courthouse.

Frank Fina, one of the senior prosecutors, was asked if he was ready for the trial and said: "I hope so."

Jurors are being chosen from among people who live in the State College area, where Penn State's main campus is located. That was a victory for the defense, which argued against bringing in jurors from elsewhere in the state.

The 68-year-old Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. He has denied the allegations.

Some of the alleged victims are expected to testify during the trial, the opening of which is likely to begin on Monday morning.

An hour before jury selection was set to begin, a dozen photographers awaited Sandusky's arrival while 10 television satellite trucks lined up outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, about 10 miles outside of State College.

Potential jurors slowly filed into the front door of the courthouse around 8 a.m., some standing in a steady drizzle as they wait to get through security. One man wore a gray Penn State sweat shirt.

Sandusky's attorneys opposed bringing in an out-of-town jury.

Among the expected witnesses are several young men who contend they were abused by Sandusky. Prosecutors have claimed that Sandusky groomed boys he met through a charity he founded for at-risk youth, then attacked them, in some cases in his own home or inside university athletic facilities.

Among the challenges for jury selection are the extraordinarily heavy news coverage of the scandal and the wide reach of The Second Mile, the youth charity Sandusky founded in 1977.

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