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Sandusky Waives Right To Preliminary Hearing

Jerry Sandusky. (Courtesy: Office of the Attorney General)

Jerry Sandusky. (Courtesy: Office of the Attorney General)

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. (CBS) — Former Penn State assistant football Coach Jerry Sandusky has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, during which some of his accusers had been expected to testify.

The decision was announced as the hearing began Tuesday in court in Bellefonte, Pa., near State College. The Associated Press reports it is not unexpected, but not unusual in Pennsylvania, nor in other court systems.

Sandusky is charged with more than 50 counts of child sex-abuse involving 10 boys he met through his children’s charity.

A preliminary hearing is a pre-trial step in which prosecutors must show they have probable cause to bring the trial. In Cook County Criminal Court and other state court systems, preliminary hearings are routinely scheduled after bond hearings, but are often superseded by grand jury indictments.

The Sandusky case has already been through a grand jury.

The 67-year-old Sandusky was once the heir apparent to coach longtime football coach Joe Paterno. The scandal has cost Paterno his job.

Two other school officials charged with perjury and failure to report abuse face a preliminary hearing Friday in Harrisburg.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)