Prosecutors file motion objecting to release of discovery materials in Penn State sex-abuse case

By Jon Campisi | Mar 7, 2012

In court papers that were filed March 5, state prosecutors say they object to a defense request to review certain juvenile records belonging to the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case.

In a motion filed in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania Senior Deputy Attorney General Jonelle H. Eshbach wrote that the commonwealth objects to the release of certain psychological and arrest records belonging to the alleged juvenile victims of Sandusky’s, as well as other records, such as ongoing investigative materials, private personal information not relevant to witness credibility and grand jury matters.

In mid-February, the trial court directed that prosecutors disclose evidence that it “agrees” is discoverable, as well as file objections to those records and materials it deems not to be discoverable.

The latest motion constitutes the latter.

On the issue of juvenile psychological and arrest records, what Eshbach says in the motion constitutes “statutorily privileged” information, the prosecutor wrote that state law prohibits the release of the information because it involves those under the age of 18.

“Accordingly, the Commonwealth submits that this information is not discoverable,” the motions states. “In the alternative, an in camera review of this material by the Trial Court is suggested.”

Sandusky’s attorney, Joseph Amendola, had requested some of the information, including juvenile police reports and interview notes, as part of the pretrial discovery process.

Amendola had accused the commonwealth of either withholding certain information, or releasing it, albeit heavily redacted.

In the commonwealth’s motion, Eshbach also wrote that certain “irrelevant personal information” belonging to individuals who came to the commonwealth’s attention during the course of the investigation into Sandusky, and has “no bearing whatsoever on the credibility of any witness,” should also be withheld from the defense team.

“Rather, this information, which is confidential, would not be relevant or admissible and would have the effect of subjecting those individuals to public opprobrium,” the motion states. “There is a very limited amount of information that falls into this category.”

Eshbach said the commonwealth objects to the release of materials relating to ongoing investigations since it would violate grand jury proceedings, and that prosecutors also object to the release of other grand jury information.

The motion states that the commonwealth “respectfully submits that it has provided to the Defendant all discoverable items requested in its good faith efforts to settle the discovery issues between the parties without Trial court intervention.

“It is further respectfully requested,” the motion continues, “that the Commonwealth and counsel for the Defendant attempt to resolve this matter without trial court intervention for the extent that it can be done, leaving unresolved issues for the trial court’s action.”

Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, is accused of sexually abusing minors during the time he worked for the university and after he left his job as defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions.

Many of the boys Sandusky is accused of molesting are believed to have been known to Sandusky through The Second Mile, the charitable organization Sandusky founded to help disadvantaged youth.

Jury selection for the much-anticipated trial is supposed to get under way in May.

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