All four judges from Penn State’s home county have removed the potential of presiding over the child sex-abuse case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
In order “to avoid any appearances of conflict of interest due to real or perceived connections” to Sandusky, the Centre County Common Pleas Court judges have recused themselves, according to a news release from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
McKean County senior judge John M. Cleland was appointed to take over the case, but Kathy A. Morrow will preside until he can assume jurisdiction. Neither judge has any known connections to any of the parties involved in the investigation, including Penn State.
The preliminary hearing, scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, will be handled by Westmoreland County Senior District Judge Robert E. Scott, who replaced the judge who set bail following Sandusky’s arrest on Nov. 5 and had ties to Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported on Tuesday that two new accusers — both still under age 18 — have come forward, a development that could alter Sandusky’s bail status. He was released on an unsecured bail of $100,000, but criminal defense lawyers worry the new accusations could raise the bail so high Sandusky could not cover it.
“My concern is, if they bring new charges based upon new people coming forward, that bail’s going to be set and he’s going to wind up in jail,” Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
Timeline: How Penn State scandal unfolded
College Inc.: Eight scandals that ended college presidencies
On Faith: A Second Mile product on his loss of faith in leadership
Achenblog: A near-confession