BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The witness known as Victim 4 testified this afternoon in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, saying that a relationship that started with horsing around became sexual and lasted for several years.
Mr. Sandusky is charged with 52 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys. His trial began this morning in the Centre County Courthouse.
Victim 4, who was a 13-year-old when he met Mr. Sandusky in 1997, lived primarily with his grandmother in Centre County at the time.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not identify without their consent people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.
Victim 4 said the first inappropriate contact happened the first time he attended an event with Mr. Sandusky -- a lakeside picnic. He said Mr. Sandusky was throwing kids into the water, and that Mr. Sandusky's hand brushed his genitals twice. He said he didn't think anything of it at the time.
He said horseplay continued, and "at some point it got more physical, play fighting, slapping around, that type of thing. That's how it basically started."
Mr. Sandusky would shower with him, he said, and soap battles led to hugging, caressing, washing one another, and eventually oral sex. He said the relationship continued for five years, and estimated he and Mr. Sandusky had oral sex 40 times.
When asked by the prosecutor if he ever told anyone, he said, "No, not ever. I was too scared to. Other than that, the other things were nice, and I didn't want to lose that." Those other things included walking the sidelines at Penn State football games, gifts that included golf clubs and sneakers, and bowl game trips.
He said he never discussed the sexual incidents with Mr. Sandusky.
"I didn't want to lose -- this is something good happening to me. I didn't really have a dad or a father figure. I'm liking everything I'm getting."
He testified that he once played raquetball with Mr. Sandusky and Mr. Sandusky's son, Matt. When they went to shower afterward, Matt left and showered in a different area.
He also said that when he was showering with Mr. Sandusky in a hotel room during the Alamo Bowl, Mr. Sandusky's wife, Dottie, came into the room and asked what was going on, then left.
Defense attorney Joseph Amendola's cross-examination of Victim 4 began a little afer 3:30 p.m.
Victim 4 testified that he once hit Mr. Sandusky with a bottle when Mr. Sandusky repeatedly put his hand on his leg while Victim 4's friend was in the car watching. He also said that Mr. Sandusky drove him to buy marijuana and bought cigarettes for him.
A second witness, an administrator at Second Mile, testified briefly before the proceedings finished for the day shortly before 5 p.m.
Marc McCann, who said he had been at Second Mile since 1994, said that a contract that Mr. Sandusky had Victim 4 sign was not anything he had ever seen before and was not for a program authorized by Second Mile.
Earlier in the day, both attorneys gave their opening statements.
Mr. Amendola told the jury this morning in his opening statement that his client will testify in his sex abuse trial, saying that Jerry Sandusky may have acted in ways others found unusual, but that he was always doing it out of love for children.
"Jerry, in my opinion, loves kids so much he did things you and I wouldn't dream of doing," he said.
He created written agreements with the boys in Second Mile, Mr. Amendola said, because his client believed that was a way to hold the troubled children to a promise to become successful.
As he has said from the beginning, Mr. Amendola told the jurors that he believed that it was likely the accusers in the case were seeking a financial payout.
"We believe money is a motivating factor in this case," he said. "We believe these young men had a financial interest in pursuing this case."
Six of the eight alleged victims have civil attorneys, the defense said.
Mr. Amendola also said that his task in defending the case was akin to "climbing Mount Everest. David vs. Goliath."
In his opening statement this morning, Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan said that Mr. Sandusky, 68, engaged in "serial predatory behavior," and said he cultivated boys from his charity organization over many years.
Mr. McGettigan told the jury in his 50-minute opening statement that it would hear from eight victims, and first up will be a boy who traveled with the defendant to Penn State bowl games.
The abuse, he said "took place not over days, not over weeks, not over months, but over years."
Although the Second Mile is not on trial, Mr. McGettigan called it "the perfect environment for a predatory pedophile."
Showing pictures of each boy on the screen, the prosecutor said they didn't come forward because "humiliation, shame and fear equal silence."
The current case came to light when the person known as Victim No. 1 came forward in Clinton County, Mr. McGettigan said.
Mr. Sandusky is charged with 52 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys.
Mr. McGettigan also told the jury that in the instance of alleged Victim No. 4, the boy was staying with Mr. Sandusky in a hotel room for a bowl game, when Dottie Sandusky left the room.
The prosecutor said that Mr. Sandusky coerced the boy at that point to have oral sex in the bathroom, but they were interrupted when she walked back into the hotel room.
The trial is expected to last three weeks. The jury of seven women and five men will not be sequestered.
Paula Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620. First Published June 11, 2012 12:30 PM