Bellefonte, Pa. Jerry Sandusky declared Friday that people have turned against him, moments after the ex-Penn State football coordinator asked a judge for greater freedom while he awaits trial on child sex abuse charges.
Sandusky was in a Centre County courtroom and asked a judge to let him see relatives, including supervised visits with his grandchildren, and friends. He denies the criminal allegations.
The judge could rule early next week on Sandusky’s request.
Sandusky also said he felt people who had been welcomed in his home were now trying to keep him confined indoors.
“I’ve associated with thousands of young people over the years,” said Sandusky, 68, the former Penn State defensive coordinator charged with 52 criminal counts involving 10 victims over 15 years. “And now, all of a sudden, because of allegations and perceptions that have been tried to be created of me, now I can’t take our dog on my deck and throw out biscuits to him.”
Sandusky’s home borders an elementary school and its playground. After he sought permission to see relatives and friends and leave his home to help lawyers prepare his case, the attorney general’s office countered with a court filing that said neighbors expressed concern for the safety of children. A teacher and intern also reported that he had been watching children from his back deck.
Prosecutors want an order that restricts Sandusky to the inside of his home, which a county probation officer said would be unusual for people under in-home detention.
His lawyer, Joe Amendola, told Judge John Cleland that Sandusky had not sought probation officers’ approval for adult visitors, but he was seeking the judge’s permission because he sensed the officers were reluctant to do anything out of the ordinary. An investigator said none of the complaints involved Sandusky approaching children.
State prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach told the judge that a clearly defined trip to help his legal team would be one thing, but she was against letting him have visitors. The allegations include charges he sexually attacked a boy in the basement of his home, while his wife was upstairs.
“This home was not safe for children for 15 years, and it’s not safe for children now,” Eshbach said. “We think that the actual contact, visitation with his grandchildren is not a good idea. And we also feel that way with regard to visitors.”
Prosecutors noted that one daughter-in-law strongly objects to increased contact between her children and Sandusky, while Amendola presented the court with letters from Sandusky’s children, and notes and drawings from his grandchildren, expressing their desire for increased contact.