Penn State University employees, students (current and former) and fans will huddle to decide Jerry Sandusky’s fate in the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University and led to Coach Joe Paterno stepping down.
Prosecutors in the case did not want a jury to come from Centre County because of the emotional connection to Penn State, but counsel for the defense argued for such and wow, how he got what he asked for.
After the presiding judge ruled that Penn State connections would not automatically disqualify potential jurors as long as they could pledge to be impartial, counsel for both the State and Sandusky will now argue in front of a jury that sits an administrative assistant who works at Penn State, a dance teacher in the continuing education program, a faculty professor who has been on campus for 24 years, a Penn State senior, a retired soil sciences professor with 37 years at the university, a man with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the school and a woman who has been a season ticketholder since the 1970s. (Eight of the 12 jurors and two of the four alternates have ties to Penn State.)
Therefore the question becomes, will jurors with Penn State connections be inclined to come down hard on Sandusky, blaming him for Paterno’s firing and the damage to the school’s reputation or will they take their frustrations out on prosecutors for bringing the case in the first place.
“In one sense, you worry about, this guy was, for many years of his life, a hero of that community, an idol. On the other hand, there’s also the consideration that there are people who believe this guy betrayed so much of what gave this institution and this area so much of the character and innocence that we love, that he has besmirched it in such a profound way.”