Penn State student from Buffalo Grove reflects on Sandusky hearing, scandal
By Susan Berger Special to the Tribune Dec. 13, 2011 at 7:10 p.m.
Simone Gleicher, a Penn State University graduate student from Buffalo Grove, was one of 100 people selected from 1,400 in a lottery to attend Jerry Sandusky’s preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Gleicher didn’t want to take the chance of missing a seat and arrived at the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., at 4:45 a.m.
“There were cameras everywhere and people wanting to interview me,” said Gleicher, 23. “But I didn’t think speaking on camera looks elegant for anybody.”
At about 7:58 a.m., Sandusky walked through the courthouse doors.
“Everyone fell completely silent when they realized it was him, “she said. “He looked very sullen and white. It was really strange how he just came in, we were not expecting that.”
The proceedings started at 8:30 a.m., and lawyers for Sandusky, who is charged with sexually abusing boys, requested a sidebar immediately.
“When the judge announced the request for a waiver (of the pretrial hearing), everyone just gasped. We were shocked,” Gleicher said.
Gleicher, a meteorology student who also attended Penn State for four years undergraduate, said she’s upset about what the scandal has done to this college campus.
“It’s just rattled the small town of Penn State, a town devoted to the university itself,” she said. “I am frustrated by all the negative publicity that was caused, essentially but the act of one man. It’s been hard to watch. It’s kind of dampened the minds of everyone, and we are all upset.
“We all feel invaded, in a sense,” Gleicher continued. “The media has been camped outside of (a main campus building) since Nov. 5. It’s hard to watch this unfold. I feel bad for an 84-year-old man (Joe Paterno) who has had a spotless record and been an inspiration to so many for so many years. And this is what he’ll be remembered for. This is tragic. Joe Pa didn’t molest those kids.”
Paterno was fired by university officials following claims that he knew of some Sandusky’s alleged behavior but failed to notify authorities.