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Penn State ties not deterrent to jurors

Connections to Penn State weren't enough to keep prospective jurors from being chosen to decide Jerry Sandusky's fate on child sexual abuse charges.

The start of jury selection Tuesday showed the strength of Sandusky's and Penn State's links to their rural central Pennsylvania community, but the presiding judge indicated that those connections weren't necessarily enough to keep them from being one of the 12 jurors or four alternates.

Nine jurors were selected Tuesday, including a longtime Penn State football season ticket holder.

In the first questioning of 40 prospective jurors, about half said they or immediate family members worked at Penn State or were university retirees.

One woman rented apartments to college students. Four knew Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach. Two knew his wife.

Sandusky's lawyer won the right to have jurors chosen from the local community, and prosecutors had concerns that Centre County might prove to be nearly synonymous with Penn State.

Sandusky had helped build the football team's reputation as a defensive powerhouse known as "Linebacker U," his arrest toppled Joe Paterno from the head coaching position just months before his death from cancer, and some of the alleged attacks on children occurred inside university showers.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts and potential penalties that could result in an effective life prison sentence for alleged abuse involving 10 boys. He has denied the allegations.

Judge John Cleland told the more than 220 potential jurors he would not sequester them, meaning they can spend nights at home during the trial that is expected to last several weeks.