New judge named in Penn State child sex-abuse case
A new judge has been named to preside over the preliminary hearing of Jerry Sandusky, the former coach charged in the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal, amid questions about the former jurist's ties to Sandusky's charity.
After Centre County court officials sought an out-of-county jurist, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts said in a posting on its website that Robert E. Scott, a senior district judge in Westmoreland County, would take over the case.
He will replace District Judge Leslie Dutchcot in overseeing the case against former defensive football coach Sandusky, who is charged with sexually abusing at least eight boys over 15 years.
Dutchcot had drawn criticism in recent days for releasing Sandusky on unsecured bail of $100,000, less than the $500,000 that prosecutors had wanted.
The judge was also a volunteer to the Second Mile charity, which was founded by Sandusky for at-risk children. Prosecutors allege that the charity was a source of children allegedly abused by Sandusky.
The scandal has rocked the Penn State campus and football program and led to the dismissal of head football Coach Joe Paterno and the university president.
In its posting, the administrative office noted that Scott “has no known connections with the Pennsylvania State University, the Second Mile charity, nor any officers or representatives of any of those entities.”
Scott, a senior judge, will preside at the Sandusky preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 7.
-- Michael Muskal
Photo: Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky sits in a car as he leaves the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot in State College, Pa., on Nov. 5. Credit: Andy Colwell / The Patriot-News / Associated Press