Sandusky trial adjourns for day



BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The judge in the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky ordered a recess for the rest of today citing "technical problems."

McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland also said he expects the case to go to the jury Thursday.

Judge Cleland told the jury that he and the lawyers in the case needed to take care of "technical issues" regarding witnesses today, and that proceedings would resume Tuesday morning. He laid out a potential timeline in which the case would go to the jury Thursday, and he prepared the jury for sequestration during deliberations.

Recap of Day 5 testimony in Sandusky trial

The PG's Jon Schmitz recaps testimony in Day 5 of the Jerry Sandusky trial. (Video by Bob Donaldson; 6/18/2012)

Mr. Sandusky, 68, is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

After the prosecution called one last witness this morning, six witnesses testified for the defense: two coaches who worked with Mr. Sandusky; a man who attended events at The Second Mile, the charity founded by Mr. Sandusky, as a child; a Penn State employee; a Bellefonte schoolteacher; and a political consultant.

David Brent Pasquinelli, the consultant, said he worked with Mr. Sandusky to raise money to build a campus for The Second Mile.

"It was a good cause," he said. "I've always been sort of a sucker for good causes."

He had an office next to Mr. Sandusky's and said he occasionally saw Mr. Sandusky interacting with children.

"I saw a mutual admiration between Second Mile youth, boys and girls, with Jerry," he said. "I saw a lot of goofing around. Jerry had a very unique way and many of us were inspired by this, how he could relate to youth of all ages and get to their level and communicate."

Brett Witmer, a second-grade teacher in the Bellefonte school district who previously worked with children's agencies, said he knew the witness known as Victim 4 in The Second Mile program.

"Jerry seemed to be an important part of his life," he said.

He said the young man mentioned his interactions with the Penn State football team and football program, and the exciting things he was experiencing.

PG VIDEO

The defense also called former Penn State assistant football coach Richard Anderson, and coached football with Mr. Sandusky.

He testified about the busy schedules that the coaching staffs keep during the season and about Mr. Sandusky's excellent reputation.

On cross-examination, he said Mr. Sandusky often showered at the same time as youngsters involved with athletic programs but saw nothing inappropriate, nor did he think it wrong for an adult to shower with boys.

"[I] do it all the time," he said. "Still do."

Clint Mettlar, 30, said he attended and benefited from The Second Mile's programs when he was a boy. He went on to serve in the Army.

Booker Brooks, a former PSU assistant football coach, said Mr. Sandusky has an "exemplary" reputation as a coach. Like Mr. Anderson, he said he found nothing wrong with children and adults showering together, saying he did so as a child in YMCA programs and continued to as a counselor and coach.

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that it would inappropriate for an adult to hug a stranger's child in the shower.

The judge this morning denied several defense motions to dismiss charges.

The commonwealth withdrew one of the 52 counts against Mr. Sandusky based on testimony that the alleged activity, unlawful contact with a minor, occurred before that statute was enacted into law.

Defense lawyer Karl Rominger argued unsuccessfully that the charges that Mr. Sandusky abused 10 boys over a 15-year span were not specific enough as to the time of the alleged abuse for Mr. Sandusky to present alibi evidence from witnesses and from his travel records.

Judge Cleland said he was concerned about the issue earlier in the case but said amended filings by the state attorney general's office were sufficient to protect Mr. Sandusky's right to due process under the law.

The prosecution rested its case after calling its 21st witness, the mother of the boy it has identified as Victim 9.

She testified that the boy attended the summer camps held by Mr. Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile, and met him during his second year of camp.

She said Mr. Sandusky approached her and said he was "interested in getting together" with the boy.

"I thought that was great," she told Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan. "He was Jerry Sandusky. He was a very important person."

The boy spent weekends with Mr. Sandusky and received athletic gear and other gifts from him but eventually started complaining about having to spend time with him, the mother said.

"I would make him go anyway," she testified.

On one occasion he called her late at night from Mr. Sandusky's house and said he was sick, and she went to get him, finding him at curbside wearing no shoes.

She started noticing problems with him.

"His stomach always hurt him and he couldn't go to the bathroom right," she said.

Something else she found strange: "I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry," the woman said. "He'd say he had an accident and threw them out."

She sobbed when Mr. McGettigan asked if she felt responsible for what happened.

"Yes I do," she said.

education - homepage - breaking - state

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com First Published June 18, 2012 4:00 AM


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