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Attorneys want some Sandusky sex-abuse charges dropped

By Mark Shade

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Attorneys for former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, charged with sexually abusing 10 boys, urged a judge on Wednesday to toss out the charges for three of the alleged victims.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola told Judge Joseph Cleland the charges involving Victims 2, 6 and 8 should not be tried because evidence was hearsay and not allowed.

But prosecutors in the high-profile case argued the circumstantial evidence was strong and should be presented to the jury when it convenes next month.

Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, faces 52 counts of molesting the 10 boys over a 15-year period. Prosecutors allege Sandusky, 68, met the boys through a charity he founded and some of the assaults occurred at Penn State facilities.

Cleland did not decide the outstanding question of whether the alleged victims are allowed to testify anonymously.

Kristen Houser, a Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape spokeswoman, said she was hopeful Cleland would give Sandusky's accusers that protection.

Unwanted publicity for the alleged victims "is a huge hurdle and not in the best interests of public safety," she told reporters after the hearing.

In a separate order, Cleland again rejected Amendola's request that the trial be delayed. The defense attorney said in part he needed more time to prepare, but Cleland wrote: "No date for trial is ever perfect, but some dates are better than others."

Jury selection is scheduled to start on Tuesday with trial beginning on June 11.

Sandusky did not attend the hearing. He is free on $250,000 bail and under house arrest.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Philip Barbara)

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