Convicted child molester Sandusky granted hearing on appeal

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Sandusky Appears In Court, Seeks New Trial & Overturned Conviction

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday granted convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky a hearing later this month to press his case for a new trial, four years after the former Penn State University football coach was found guilty of abusing 10 boys.

SEE ALSO: Penn State's Sandusky due in court as lawyers seek new sex abuse trial

Lawyers for Sandusky can pursue several issues at the May 20 hearing, including the competency of his trial attorney, whether prosecutors and the judge who oversaw the grand jury withheld evidence and whether the state attorney general's office leaked sealed grand jury material to a reporter in an effort to persuade additional victims to come forward.

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Convicted child molester Sandusky granted hearing on appeal
FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2012, file photo, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is taken from the Centre County Courthouse by Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau, left, and a deputy, after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa. A proposed settlement, announced Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, by the NCAA, will give Penn State back 112 football team wins that were vacated two years ago in the Sandusky child molestation scandal. If approved, the new agreement also would restore former coach Joe Paterno status as the winningest coach in major college football history with 409 victories. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo, Dottie Sandusky, the wife of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for the sentencing of her husband at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Dottie Sandusky says it was long after he’d been arrested, tried and convicted before she realized just how much trouble the former Penn State assistant football coach had gotten himself into. In an interview this week at her home in State College, Dottie Sandusky said that even after his 45-count guilty verdict in the child molestation case, she still had had hope. But when the judge gave him to 30 to 60 years in state prison, she said, she fully comprehended the trouble he was in. She’s been granting interviews in recent weeks, arguing her husband’s conviction was unjust and claiming the victims who testified against him told inaccurate stories to cash in. An attorney involved in negotiating with Penn State on behalf of his victims calls her denials “obscene.” (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2011, file photo, former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives with his wife, Dottie Sandusky, right, for a preliminary hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said Sandusky is distraught over the NCAA penalties issued to Penn State's football program for the school's handling of his child sexual abuse scandal and maintains his innocence as he awaits sentencing. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, and his wife Dottie, left, leave the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is charged with 51 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, accompanied by his wife Dottie Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Bellefonte. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Dottie Sandusky, wife of Jerry Sandusky a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, stands as her husband speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Dottie Sandusky, the wife of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for the sentencing of her husband at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
BELLEFONTE, PA - DECEMBER 13: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives witrh his with his wife Dottie at Centre County Courthouse, on December 13, 2011 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandusky, who was charged with sexual abuse involving 10 boys he met through the Second Mile nonprofit organization, will face his accusers during today's preliminary hearing. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, left, along with Special Deputy Attorney Genera H. Geoffery Moulton Jr., talks about a report into the Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation, during a news conference Monday, June 23, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathlen Kane, left and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan conduct a news conference at the Capitol announcing charges against a former state Senate leader and seven others in what they called a "pay to play" case involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike Thursday, March 13, 2013 in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)
BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky walks into the Centre County Courthouse before being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandusky faces more than 350 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BELLEFONTE, PA - JUNE 22: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on June 22, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts in the sexual abuse trial of the former Penn State assistant football coach, who was charged with sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
This video framegrab provided by the courthouse pool via Commonwealth Media Services shows Jerry Sandusky describing his career and retirement from Penn State by video link from Greene State Prison in southwestern Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, as testimony began in a hearing into whether he can get back the retirement benefits he lost after being convicted of child molestation. (AP Photo/Commonwealth Media Services)
Jerry Sandusky arrives for his hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, January 10, 2013. (Michael Kubel/Allentown Morning Call/MCT via Getty Images)
Dottie Sandusky, the wife of Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, for a hearing for her husband on Thursday, January 10, 2013. (Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images)
Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary exits the Dauphin County Courthouse, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Harrisburg, Pa. McQueary testified Monday as a star witness in a hearing for three former Penn State officials accused in a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State Media Day at State College, Pa. An amended complaint by the family and estate of Joe Paterno and others was filed Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in county court near State College that added Penn State as a "nominal defendant" in a lawsuit against the NCAA over the university's penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
FILE - In this July 12, 2012 file photo, former FBI director Louis Freeh speaks about the Freeh Report during a news conference, in Philadelphia. Penn State has released a document detailing its agreement with former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, a review that cost the school about $8.1 million. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Penn State University Office of the Physical Plant workers remove the concrete landing area that held the Joe Paterno statue, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in State College, Pennsylvania. The statue was removed on Sunday in the wake of the Louis Freeh report and Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. (Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - JULY 22: Members of the Hells Angels from Connecticut visit the site where the statue of former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno once stood outside Beaver Stadium on July 22, 2012 in State College, The statue was removed by workers after Pennsylvania. Penn State's president Rodney Erickson made the decision Sunday in the wake of the child sex scandal of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. According to an FBI report, it is believed that Paterno had detailed knowledge of Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children before and after Sandusky retired from coaching at Penn State. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett speaks during a gubernatorial debate with Democrat Tom Wolf on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, in Hershey, Pa. The debate is hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 10: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference following a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett is the former state attorney general who launched the investigation in 2009 that eventually brought criminal charges against three former Penn State officials this week. As governor, Corbett is an ex-oficio member of Penn State’s board of trustees. Paterno was fired amid allegations that former former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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John Cleland, a visiting judge in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, had expressed skepticism regarding Sandusky's appeal during a court appearance on Monday but nevertheless ordered the evidentiary hearing.

"We're just going to prepare for the hearing," said Alexander Lindsay, Sandusky's current lawyer. "We're formulating our witness list now."

Representatives for the attorney general's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sandusky, 72, is serving 30-60 years in state prison after a jury convicted him in 2012 of molesting 10 boys at Penn State sports facilities or through the auspices of The Second Mile, his former charity.

He has already lost several previous appeals. The current claims were brought under the state's post-conviction relief act, which allows appeals based on ineffective legal counsel and constitutional violations, among other grounds.

To win a new trial, the defense must prove both that there was a violation of Sandusky's right to a fair trial, and that the violation created a "reasonable probability" of a different outcome, said Peter Goldberger, a lawyer in Philadelphia who specializes in appeals and is not involved in this case.

Lindsay has accused prosecutors and the judge who supervised the grand jury that investigated Sandusky of failing to turn over evidence that might have helped his defense.

He will also seek to prove that prosecutors in the attorney general's office in 2011 leaked secret grand jury information to Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim in the hopes that other alleged victims of Sandusky would emerge.

At Monday's hearing, Cleland gave Lindsay permission to call Attorney General Kathleen Kane to testify whether she believes such a leak occurred. (Editing by Joseph Ax; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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