By Adam S. Levy – Radar Staff Writer
UPDATE: 8:45 a.m. EST Sandusky has just waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning he will not face his accusers in court today and the case is on the fast track to trial.
Former Penn State defensive coach Jerry Sandusky Tuesday will face his accusers in a Bellefonte, Pennsylvania courtroom for a preliminary hearing, in which prosecutors will try to prove there’s enough evidence to move forward with a trial of the coach, who’s accused of more than 50 criminal counts of child molestation and other sex offenses over a 15-year span.
The 67-year-old coach, who has maintained his innocence, is “looking forward to the opportunity to face his accusers,” his attorney Joseph Amendola said Monday, noting Sandusky could even take the stand, if the situation warrants it.
No plea deal has been discussed with the prosecution, Amendola said. A veteran jurist will serve as district judge for the hearing, which could last more than a day.
The high-profile case will have all the trimmings of a media frenzy, with an estimated 200 reporters expected to be at the courthouse to cover the hearing, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
Sandusky is accused of molesting 10 boys from 1994 to 2009. Among the 50 criminal counts he’s been accused of include: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, along with single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.
In interviews since the scandal broke, Sandusky has characterized his behavior with the children as “horseplay,” and his time with them as “precious” and “significant.”
He told the New York Times that while he’s attracted to children, it’s not in a sexual way.
“If I say, ‘No, I’m not attracted to young boys,’ that’s not the truth because I’m attracted to young people — boys, girls,” Sandusky said. “I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people … I mean, my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young.”
The scandal has shaken Penn State to its very foundation, provoking the firings of several high-ranking officials for their inaction when allegations of Sandusky’s pedophilic tendencies began sprouting up. Most notably, longtime Head Coach Joe Paterno was canned for a perceived non-response to a 2002 report from graduate assistant Michael McQueary that Sandusky had raped a 10-year-old boy in the Penn State locker room showers.
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