It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
Jerry Sandusky has a problem. It is not the one you think. See, he wants to be able to continue his life as he had before the charges were filed against him, but because of those pesky charges people are treating him differently. In his words:
I’ve associated with thousands of young people over the years. And now, all of a sudden, because of allegations and perceptions that have been tried to be created of me, now I can’t take our dog on my deck and throw out biscuits to him. […] Now all of a sudden, these people turn on me when they’ve been in my home with their kids. They’ve attended birthday parties when they’ve been on that deck. When their kids have been playing in my yard. When their kids have been sled riding when they’ve asked to sled ride. It’s difficult for me to understand.
There is a reason why prosecutors want to keep Sandusky indoors:
Sandusky’s home borders an elementary school and its playground. After he sought permission to see relatives and friends and leave his home to help lawyers prepare his case, the attorney general’s office countered with a court filing that said neighbors expressed concern for the safety of children. A teacher and intern also reported that he had been watching children from his back deck.
It is possible that Sandusky was just looking out his window. The school is literally next to his home, and it is ridiculous to assume he would only look out the windows of one side of his house. Of course, it is also possible he is looking at boys in a sexual manner. This is the sort of thing that a decent attorney would tell his client not to do because it looks bad even if it is innocent. Unfortunately, Sandusky’s attorney either does not give good advice or Sandusky does not follow it.
Let us keep this simple: when you are accused of multiple counts of child rape people are going to view you differently. This is not a conspiracy. It is a normal human reaction to what most people consider horrific acts of abuse. Even if Sandusky is guilty, this would still be the reaction of most people. As much as it may seem personal to Sandusky, it really is not. This is just what people do.
Of course, the personal element here is that these are people that Sandusky liked and presumed trusted him. To have them doubt his innocence likely hurts. However, it seems unlikely that nearly a dozen boys lied about being abused by Sandusky. And given the number of boys who reported abuse, some of those former close neighbors with sons may wonder whether Sandusky abused their kids. Perhaps he did, and perhaps that is why people “turned” on him.
That is partially why it is a mistake for Sandusky to demand that the jury be made up of locals:
In an unusual move, prosecutors are seeking a jury from outside Centre County, home of Penn State and a charity for children that Sandusky founded in 1977, The Second Mile.
Sandusky wants a jury made up of people who live in State College and the surrounding area, and Cleland had him testify to ensure that he was fully aware of the ramifications.
Sandusky said he was aware that he would not be able to launch an appeal, if he is convicted, on grounds the local jury was biased. Sandusky said there was not a viable alternative in Pennsylvania, where his case has been heavily reported.
Perhaps he assumes that the locals would support him or be more open to whatever defense he presents. If so, that is a big gamble because they have the most reason not to side with Sandusky. These are the people who thought they knew him. If they decide he is guilty of the charges against him, that may have more reason to punish him than anyone else.
UPDATE: The judge granted Sandusky supervised visitation with his grandchildren. He also ignored the prosecutors complaint about Sandusky going out onto his deck. There was also this curious bit:
While preparing for a trial that will see Sandusky face his accusers, the defense had asked Cleland to force prosecutors to turn over more information about the allegations of sexual abuse.
Prosecutors had already supplied the names of each accuser, but Amendola asked for the specific dates and locations of each instance of alleged abuse and the exact age of the victim at the time of each instance of abuse.
Cleland granted those requests, saying if prosecutors cannot provide the information they must explain the reasons to the defendant.
Cleland denied the defense’s request for the prosecution to “specify the particular acts giving rise” to the charges, and said prosecutors do not have to turn over names, addresses and dates of birth of witnesses to the alleged sexual abuse.
It seems unethical not to supply the defense with a list of potential witnesses who would testify against Sandusky. Under the law, he does have the right to know who will testify against him and should have access to any information that would aid in his countering their testimony.