updated 12/13/2011 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/13/2011 AT 3:30 PM ET
Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky opted to waive his right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday – but that hasn’t prevented some of his alleged victims from speaking out.
“I can’t put into words how unbearable this has been on my life, both physically and mentally,” a young man identified as Victim Number Four said in a statement released by his attorney, Ben Andreozzi.
The weeks since news first broke of Sandusky’s alleged child sexual abuses have been “the most difficult time of my life” said the young man, who says he still intends to testify against his former coach.
Sandusky, 67, is charged with molesting 10 boys over a 16-year-period. In the case of Victim Number Four, the former coach is charged with forcing the boy to perform sex acts on him during the mid-1990s.
“Regardless of the decision to waive the hearing, nothing has changed,” the alleged victim says. “I will stand my ground, testify and speak the truth.”
At least five victims were scheduled to testify at Tuesday’s hearing, which took place in a packed Bellefonte, Pa., courtroom. The purpose of the hearing was for the judge to determine whether enough evidence existed to move the case forward to trial. Instead, Sandusky and his attorney waived the hearing shortly after court began at 8:30 a.m. The case will go directly to trial at a later date.
“We fully intend to put together the best possible defense that we can do, to stay the course, to fight for four quarters,” Sandusky, wearing a dark business suit, said as he emerged from the courtroom. “We want the opportunity to present our side.”
Attorneys for other victims berated Sandusky for putting the victims through the stress of preparing for the preliminary hearing only to deny their having their say in court.
“He could have done this last week or even last night,” says Slade McLaughlin, an attorney for Victim Number One. “All he really did was shake up the victims.”