BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Three of the 16 jurors and alternates needed for former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial were selected Tuesday morning as the high-profile case got under way in earnest after months of legal wrangling and intense publicity.
A middle-aged woman selected told the court she has been a Penn State football season-ticketholder since the 1970s and that her husband works for the medical group where the father of key witness Mike McQueary previously worked. Also selected were a 24-year-old man with plans to attend an auto technician school and a mother of two who works in retail.
Prospective jurors also learned that the wife and son of Sandusky's former boss, Joe Paterno, were among the potential defense witnesses. Members of Sandusky's family also were on a list shown to the prospective jurors, along with assistant coach McQueary and his father, John McQueary.
Mike McQueary, on leave from the team, has said he saw Sandusky naked in a team shower with a young boy more than a decade ago and reported it to football coach Joe Paterno.
Mike McQueary is also on the prosecution's list, along with young men who have accused Sandusky of abusing them.
Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts and potential penalties that could result in an effective life prison sentence for alleged abuse involving 10 boys. The former Penn State assistant football coach has denied the allegations.
During jury selection, Sandusky's lawyer sought to have the Penn State ticketholder eliminated without using one of the eight challenges each side gets. Judge John Cleland turned him down and, after conferring with Sandusky, attorney Joe Amendola allowed her to be chosen.
Among those who were struck from the pool were a nurse who said people make up stories all the time — prosecutors used a challenge for her — as well as a man who had volunteered for the Sandusky-founded charity The Second Mile. Also struck were a mother of 10 who said she has made up her mind and a Penn State fan and township manager who said news coverage of the case has been destructive to her community.