Sandusky Fallout, in their Own Words

Mark Costanzo

Mark Costanzo

By waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse charges will advance to a likely trial in 2012.  Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark Costanzo says the Commonwealth was ready to proceed with Tuesday’s hearing:


Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola took to the Centre County Courthouse steps, in Bellefonte, to explain the surprise move:  


Joe Amendola

Joe Amendola

Attorney Howard Janet, who represents the accuser known as “victim 6” in the grand jury report, reacts to Tuesday’s events:


Howard Janet

Howard Janet

Attorney Slade McLaughlin, who represents the accuser known as “victim 1,” says the waiver shows weakness in the defense:


Slade McLaughlin

Slade McLaughlin

However Joe Amendola maintains that there have been – and will be – no plea negotiations.  Sandusky will not have to be present for his formal arraignment on January 11th.  In fact, Amendola says they’ve already entered a plea of “not guilty,” and requested a jury trial.

Jerry Sandusky Waives Preliminary Hearing

In a shocking twist, Jerry Sandusky and his attorney decided to waive his preliminary hearing on child sex abuse charges. As such, a hearing that was expected to take an entire day and include testimony from several alleged victims was instead over in minutes.

This was the first indication that the defense was prepared to waive the preliminary hearing, and it comes after great lengths were taken by both court officials and the media. Sandusky was in and out of the courthouse in less than an hour. His attorney accompanied him, but said he would return to answer questions.


Sandusky Hearing About to Begin

    The key players in the Jerry Sandusky case have been arriving at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte this morning for a preliminary hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial. Sandusky arrived just before 8am and did not answer reporters’ questions as he walked into the courthouse with his wife.

    There is heavy security at the courthouse for today’s hearing, where Sandusky will face some of his accusers for the first time since he was arrested last month. Most of the alleged victims are now adults. Sandusky faces more than 50 counts of child sex abuse against 10 teen-aged boys over a 15 year period. He maintains his innocence, but the scandal has rocked Penn State University, where Sandusky served as a defensive football coach under Joe Paterno for three decades.

Senior citizen woman

Caregivers and Relatives May Have Disconnect over What’s Important

A new study by researchers at Penn State and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging shows different perceptions over what’s important among caregivers, and relatives who are in early stages of dementia.   Caregivers may not understand priorities for their older relative in terms of autonomy, burden, control, family and safety.

Steven Zarit, a professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, says there’s a window of opportunity for people with dementia to explain what’s most important to them.  He says people whose symptoms are relatively mild can say with some certainty what it is they want, what’s important about care.  He says some people want to be in control of things and some want others to make decisions for them.

Zarit says the caregiver’s perception of the situation is what’s driving this.  He says if the caregiver views the person with dementia as not being able to make decisions in everyday life, they were more likely to under-estimate the importance of these values. He believes it’s important for the ground rules to be set in the early stages. He says that’s when the person with dementia can explain their needs and values.

Zarit , the study’s leader, plans to continue the research by developing and evaluating protocols for improving communication between caregivers and their relatives.   

*Photo of the Penn State Team was provided by EcoCAR.

EcoCAR Challenge Nearing Completion, Pennsylvania Team One of 16 in Competition

For three years, students from 16 North American schools have part of the EcoCAR Challenge.   Penn State University’s team has been working on an extended range electronic vehicle, and this year the team had to refine it to near showroom quality. While the vehicle must perform on the road like a standard SUV, there’s a big difference under the hood.

Team member Shawn Getty, a graduate student at Penn State, says the vehicle is a series hybrid. The engine is coupled to the generator- which makes electricity that goes to the batteries. The electricity stored in the batteries goes to an electric motor which drives the wheels. There is no transmission.  The vehicle has an electric range of about 35 miles, and can run on batteries or the diesel engine.

Getty says the team has been doing well this year, placing third in the autocross and completing the 100 mile event course, which only five of the sixteen teams have been able to complete.  He says the vehicle has been running vehicle well.

The EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge was established by the United States Department of Energy and General Motors.  You can learn more at

The overall EcoCAR winner titles will be announced in Washington D.C. on Thursday, June 16.

The Penn State team is also on line at

**Photo of the Penn State Team was provided by EcoCAR.