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Entries in Child Molestation (34)

Monday
Jun042012

Jerry Sandusky's Alleged Victims' Names Will Be Revealed

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- The identities of eight alleged victims of child abuse at the hands of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will be made public during the trial that begins this month, a judge ruled on Monday.

Four of the alleged victims had petitioned Judge John Cleland to keep their identities anonymous by allowing them to use pseudonyms.  All of the victims have been previously denoted only by number, such as "Victim 1" and "Victim 2," during the investigation and pre-trial hearings.

When the trial begins on June 11, the court will not take any official action to protect their identities as the alleged victims testify against Sandusky, 58, who is charged with 52 counts of child molestation.

"While I will make every effort to be sensitive to the nature of the alleged victims' testimony, once the trial begins the veil must be lifted," Cleland wrote in an order released on Monday.

The victims are expected to testify about the incidents in which Sandusky allegedly molested them, including on Penn State's campus, in the football locker room showers, in the campus hotel Toftrees, in Arizona at the 1998 Outback Bowl Game, and in Texas' 1999 Alamo Bowl game.

If the four victims choose not to testify in light of Cleland's ruling, the prosecution will be left with four other victims as well as witnesses to prove the charges of molestation and child rape against Sandusky.

The prosecution's star witness, former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, is set to testify about a 2001 incident in which McQueary saw Sandusky allegedly raping a young boy in the Penn State football locker room showers.

However, the prosecution originally said that the incident occurred in March 2002, but recently changed the date of the molestation to February 2001.  McQueary's original statement to police in 2010 showed that he was not sure which year the incident occurred.

The prosecution has not been able to identify the child who McQueary claims he saw in the shower.  Similarly, an alleged incident of molestation that occurred in the football building in 2000 was witnessed by a janitor named James Calhoun who now suffers from dementia and will not be able to testify.  That child was also never identified.

The scandal resulted in the dismissal of the university's president as well as its iconic football coach Joe Paterno, who has since died.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun012012

Georgia Judge Tosses Murder Case Citing Sixth Amendment Violation

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAVANNAH, Ga.) -- A Georgia judge threw out charges against an accused child murderer and molester on Wednesday, leaving prosecutors scrambling to determine their next move.

The Chatham County District Attorney's office is seeking input from the family of Ashleigh Moore.  The 12-year-old was found strangled in 2003.

The district attorney's office will have 30 days to file an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court to reinstate charges against Bobby Lavon Buckner, 36.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann threw out the murder and molestation charges against Buckner, saying his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated.

The convicted child molester was indicted in the murder of Moore in 2007.  The indictment came more than four years after the 12-year-old's strangled body was found by a fisherman near the Savannah River.

"The court simply cannot ignore that this considerable delay, which occurred late in an already significantly delayed case, was apparently altogether unnecessary," Freesemann said in her ruling.

Buckner's trial had been rescheduled 10 times.  His latest trial date was June 11.

In her ruling, Freesemann also addressed the misplacement of physical evidence, a defense allegation that it was not given proper access to evidence and delays caused by prosecution deliberations on whether to seek the death penalty.

The district attorney's office said in a statement that physical evidence is maintained by the law enforcement agencies investigating the case.  Therefore, it was unable to address the whereabouts of the evidence.

Michael Schiavone, who represented Buckner until last year, heralded the dismissal of the charges and said he felt the prosecution had made continual, purposeful efforts to delay the case because of a lack of evidence.

"The case is totally circumstantial.  I think the investigators believe he must have done it because he was on probation for molestation," Schiavone told ABC News.  "But there was no confession, no physical evidence linking him to the crime and no eyewitnesses."

Buckner, who was the live-in boyfriend of Moore's mother, was taken into custody for a parole violation on April 19, 2003, one day after the girl's disappearance.  The convicted sex offender had been banned from being in the presence of anyone under the age of 16 and was ultimately sent to prison for the offense.

New sexual abuse charges were filed in 2004.  Buckner pleaded guilty and was given a 13-year prison sentence and was credited for time served.  He is scheduled to be released in April 2016, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar232012

Jerry Sandusky's Attorneys Ask Judge to Throw Out All Charges

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- In a long shot bid to win his case, attorneys for former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky asked the court Thursday that all charges against their client be dropped.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 counts relating to child molestation for the alleged abuse of 10 boys during a 15-year period, some of which he spent as an assistant to the late Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.

His lawyers argued that some of the criminal counts against Sandusky weren't specific while claiming there is a lack of evidence in some of the other criminal charges.

Also, according to pre-trial motion, the statute of limitations has expired for eight of the 10 plaintiffs, who are now adults.

What lead attorney Joe Amendola might be doing is trying to buy more time to prepare the case for Sandusky, who is under home arrest.

The case is scheduled to begin May 14 but this latest motion could push it back since prosecutors will have to respond to the defense motion and Judge John Cleland will probably have the two sides hammer out some sort of compromise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Sandusky's Former Daughter-in-Law: He’s Not Safe for ‘Any Children’

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- Jerry Sandusky’s former daughter-in-law railed against a court ruling Monday allowing the accused child molester to visit with his grandchildren, saying that Sandusky had inappropriately touched her son and she suspected he was grooming the boy for sexual abuse.

Jill Thomas, who was married to Sandusky’s son Matt, said she would continue to fight against Sandusky being allowed to visit with his grandchildren.

Earlier on Monday, a judge in Centre County, Pa., granted Sandusky’s request for relaxed bail terms that allow him to visit with all of his grandchildren except for Thomas’s children, due to her objections.

“I do not believe it is safe for my children, or any children, to be around Jerry Sandusky,” Thomas said.

Sandusky, who is charged with 50 counts of molestation, said at last week’s hearing that his grandchildren had been begging to see or talk to “Pop” on the phone since he was arrested and placed under house arrest.

Thomas said that she had fought Monday’s ruling. She noted that she had tried to testify at the hearing last week, but that her testimony was submitted instead as a written summary by the state attorney general to Judge John Cleland.

In an angry statement released on Monday, Thomas said the summary did not accurately or completely reflect the danger Sandusky posed to children.

“Although I have kept silent up until now to protect my children and my family’s privacy, I can no longer keep silent about Jerry Sandusky’s request to be permitted to see my children,” Thomas said. “Shortly after news of the child sexual abuse criminal charges against Jerry Sandusky became public, my children reported to me that Jerry Sandusky, their grandfather, had inappropriately touched my son.  I was devastated by this news.”

Thomas said she reported her son’s claim to authorities, who decided there was not enough evidence to charge Sandusky with a crime.  But a psychologist who worked with her son after the revelation said Sandusky may have been grooming the boy for sexual abuse, Thomas said.

Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Second Teacher Charged in Los Angeles School Scandal

KABC-TV/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed lewd acts charges against a second teacher for allegedly fondling at least one student at the beleaguered Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Martin Springer was charged Tuesday with three counts of committing lewd acts on one girl, according to The Los Angeles Times, which reported that a law enforcement officer said a second girl recanted her accusation against the teacher.

Bail for Springer was reportedly set at $300,000, while the judge said the 49-year-old will be forced to wear an ankle monitoring device if released.

Another teacher, Mark Berndt, was arrested earlier after a year-long investigation into lewd acts he allegedly committed on 23 children aged 6-10 between 2005 and 2010.  He is accused of feeding students cookies with his semen on them and taking pictures of students blindfolded with cockroaches in their faces.

Brian Claypool, an attorney for some of Berndt's alleged victims, told ABC News that he has identified a female teacher who would allegedly bring little girls to Berndt to be victimized.

"I reported to the L.A. County Sheriff's Special Victims Unit a new teacher who I believe patently aided and abetted the abuse Berndt was carrying out," Claypool told ABC News.

Claypool said his accusation has come from conversations with at least three students or former students who said the other female teacher had a role in the alleged crimes.

"She was a teacher who would escort little girls into Berndt's classroom when he was all alone.  Berndt would come over in the middle of day, whisper in her ear, and they would giggle, and then teacher would pick out two girls, escort them through a common door, so that they were stuck with a pedophile in this classroom.  And that's where he was blindfolding them and spoon-feeding them semen," he said.

Following the arrests of Springer and Berndt, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy announced on Monday he was having Miramonte's 128-person staff temporarily transferred out of the school for the remainder of the winter track.

The district has contacted former teachers and staff members who had been laid off during budget cuts to come back and temporarily teach at the school.

The school is expected to reopen to students on Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Entire Los Angeles Elementary School Staff Removed Amid Molestation Charges

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Amid allegations that two of its teachers committed lewd acts on students, a Los Angeles elementary school will be wiped clean of all of its staff while investigations into the accusations continue.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy made the announcement Monday night while meeting with parents.  He said everyone from the principal to the janitors at Miramonte Elementary School will be removed and replaced. The new staff is scheduled to take over on Thursday when classes resume.

"I can't have any more surprises at Miramonte, even though the police will do what they have to do.  And if there are no more, thank God.  We deal with the horror and the tragedy I have already.  And if there are more, then we will have to deal with that," Deasy said.

Last week, third grade teacher Mark Berndt was arrested for allegedly abusing 23 students, ages 7 to 10, between 2008 and 2010.  According to officials, the 61-year-old blindfolded and sometimes gagged children, spoon-feeding some of them his semen and placing live cockroaches on the faces of others.

Berndt, who's being held on $23 million bail, was busted when a worker at a film processing outlet turned over photos of the alleged abuse to police.

A few days after Berndt's arrest, another teacher at Miramonte was placed behind bars for molesting some of his students.  Martin Springer, 49, is accused of fondling two girls over the past three years.

"I am outraged, disgusted," Deasy said, referring to the allegations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec142011

Bernie Fine's Accusers Sue Syracuse University, Head Basketball Coach

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Unable to file criminal charges because the statute of limitations had run out, two men who claimed they were molested as children by former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine announced Tuesday they were suing the college and head coach Jim Boeheim.

Mike Lang and Bobby Davis alleged that Fine sexually abused them years ago when they were ball boys for the Syracuse team.  They said they had not planned to seek money damages until Boeheim initially questioned their motives and suggested they were looking to make a quick buck.

Although Boeheim has since apologized and Fine was fired by Syracuse University, the two alleged victims hired attorney Gloria Allred, who said the men were seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Allred added, "It’s time now to make both Syracuse University and coach Boeheim accountable."

Both men also made statements.  Davis said it hurt him when Boeheim accused him of lying, while Lang expressed hope that other child abuse victims would find the courage to step forward.

Fine has denied all the allegations made against him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec132011

Jerry Sandusky Abruptly Waives Preliminary Hearing

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abruptly waived his right to a preliminary hearing in court Tuesday morning. The 67-year-old was to face eight young men who were going to testify he sexually abused them when they were boys.  The case will now go straight to trial.

Shortly after arriving at a packed Centre County courthouse at 8 a.m., Sandusky and his attorney, Joe Amendola, joined two prosecutors and a court reporter in the judge's chambers of the courtroom.  A second attorney, Karl Rominger, arrived at court with Sandusky and Amendola and went with them into chambers.

Amendola had previously said they would not waive the hearing.

As he left the courthouse at Bellefonte, Penn., Sandusky paused to say, "We fully intend to put together the best possible defense that we can do, to stay the course, to fight for four quarters...We want the opportunity to present our side."

He also ignored a reporter asking him if he still maintained his innocence, to which Amendola -- not Sandusky -- replied, "Yes."

Marc Costanzo, a spokesman for the prosecution, said they were ready but were pleased by the waiver.

"The waiver means that the victims in this case, although they were ready, will not have to testify and will not be cross examined at this time," he said.

Since the alleged victims will still testify at the trial, it "avoids having to testify a second time."

Tuesday's showdown would have marked the first time that Sandusky and his alleged victims would have confronted each other over the charges. He is facing 50 counts relating to child molestation for the alleged abuse of 10 young men.

Costanzo said the waiver means "all the charges advance to the trial stage."   He said Sandusky will be arraigned on Jan. 11.

The prosecutor said there had been no discussion of a plea bargain.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec132011

Sandusky Accuser Ready 'to Set the Record Straight' at Hearing

Centre County Correctional Facility via Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- A young man identified only as Victim 6 will be in a Pennsylvania courtroom on Tuesday to "set the record straight" and testify against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, his lawyer told ABC News.

Howard Janet said his client -- one of 10 young men Sandusky is accused of molesting in a 15-year period -- would testify in Tuesday's preliminary hearing despite "mixed emotions."

"It's very difficult.  It's trying, but it's something that needs to be done to serve justice," Janet said.  "It's an opportunity for him to set the record straight in response to charges by Sandusky and his lawyer that he hasn't been telling the truth and these other young men haven't been telling the truth."

Last month, Sandusky's lawyer said that Victim 1 was retaliating against a tough mentor and had exaggerated his story after getting attention from prosecutors.  The lawyer also said that Victim 2, who Sandusky is accused of having raped in a Penn State shower, claimed he was never molested.  Victim 6 was allegedly bear-hugged by Sandusky as they showered together at Penn State in 1998 when the accuser was 11.  He is now 24.

The boy's mother filed a complaint at the time, but a police investigation ended with no charges filed.  Sandusky was recorded by police, however, telling the boy's mother that the shower was a mistake and "I wish I were dead."

Janet would not comment when ABC News asked him about the 1998 investigation.

"I will let this young man speak for himself with respect to that at the grand jury tomorrow," he said.  "It will be evident that charges were warranted [then] and continue to be warranted."

Sandusky, 67, is charged with 50 counts relating to child molestation.  On Tuesday, he is scheduled to appear in court for the first time to face his accusers.  The hearing is expected to last several days.

Last week, sources close to the case told ABC News that eight victims would testify against Sandusky.

On Wednesday, Sandusky was arrested as two new accusers emerged, bringing the number of alleged sex abuse victims to 10.  It was not clear whether the most recent accusers would attend Tuesday's hearing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec122011

Penn State Scandal: Testimony of Key Witness Reportedly Questioned

J. Meric/Getty Images(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- The details of what Mike McQueary -- then a graduate assistant for Penn State's powerhouse football team -- did or didn't witness in a shower where former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly was sexually assaulting a 10-year-old will be parsed on Tueday during a scheduled preliminary hearing on the merits of the evidence in the case.

An article in Sunday's Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., said a source knowledgeable of grand jury testimony in the case questions whether McQueary just heard what sounded like sexual activity or, as he has said repeatedly, actually saw a child being sodomized.

The 52 counts of sex crimes against boys with which Sandusky has been charged have hinged partly on that latter, stated recollection from McQueary.

McQueary has said he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy who was standing with his hands against a shower wall in 2002, and that the pair turned and looked at him before he left the building.

But Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a friend and physician colleague of McQueary's father, Dr. John McQueary, remembers it differently.  Dranov told the grand jury that he also sat and listened as Mike McQueary gave his father that day-after eyewitness account.

According to the Patriot-News source in question, Dranov testified that McQueary said he heard "sex sounds" and the shower running, and a young boy stuck his head around the corner of the shower stall, peering at him as an adult arm reached around his waist and pulled him back out of view.

Seconds later, McQueary said, Sandusky left the shower in a towel, Dranov testified, according to the newspaper's source.

Dranov said he asked McQueary three times whether he saw anything sexual, and each time McQueary said no, according to the knowledgeable source.  Given that response, Dranov advised McQueary to inform head football coach Joe Paterno, rather than police, about what he witnessed.

Paterno, who was fired for not taking sufficiently decisive action about an alleged sodomy, has said the alleged assault was not graphically conveyed to him as a rape.  Moreover, the Patriot-News wrote, McQueary's story has been a key element to all the criminal cases, and the only evidence of an assault in 2002 that grand jurors heard.

Sandusky's attorneys likely will seize on that inconsistency to defend their client on Tuesday when the hearing starts.

The hearing will serve as a kind of mini-trial, replete with prosecutorial witnesses who likely will be cross-examined by attorneys defending Sandusky against 52 counts of sex crimes against 10 alleged victims.  Eight of them are expected to testify before Magisterial Judge Robert E. Scott, who will solely decide if there's probable cause for the case to proceed to trial in a county court.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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