First Sandusky trial witness, Victim No. 4, details abuse
'I thought it was a game, so I went along with it'
June 12, 2012 12:00 PM
Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse following the first day of testimony in his trial.
By Paula Reed Ward Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The man identified as Victim No. 4 told a jury Monday afternoon that soap battles and other horseplay engineered by Jerry Sandusky turned into years of sexual abuse.
Now 28, he said that Mr. Sandusky's wife, son and a fellow Penn State University football coach may have been aware of inappropriate behavior between them, describing instances in which Matt Sandusky and former Penn State defensive coach Tom Bradley were aware that Jerry Sandusky was showering alone with a young boy -- and the coach's wife, Dottie Sandusky, found them alone together in a hotel room bathroom.
The man was the first witness called on the first day of Jerry Sandusky's trial on 52 counts of sexual abuse, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of minors. He spent more than three hours on the stand, describing for jurors his relationship with the former Penn State defensive coordinator and explaining why it was that he never spoke of the alleged abuse until the police found him during the grand jury investigation last year.
Recap of Day 1 testimony in Sandusky trial
The Post-Gazette's Paula Ward recaps Day 1 of the Jerry Sandusky trial in Bellefonte. (Video by Bob Donaldson; 6/11/2012)
Prosecution, defense deliver opening statements in Sandusky trial
The PG's Paula Ward reports on the first day of the Jerry Sandusky trial. (Video by Bob Donaldson; 6/11/2012)
The witness said he met Mr. Sandusky in 1997 when he was 13 and attended an on-campus summer camp program run by The Second Mile, the charity founded by Mr. Sandusky.
Within days of that first meeting, Mr. Sandusky began calling the boy and inviting him to family picnics and to play basketball or racquetball on-campus with him. After the very first exercise session, the two showered together, and within two to three more times, he told the jurors, inappropriate touching began.
"At some point, things got more physical," he said. "Play fighting. Slapping around type of thing. That's how it basically started.
"Eventually, the horsing around would lead to him starting a soap battle. I thought it was a game, so I went along with it."
There were bear hugs, and play boxing, which turned into caressing and washing each other, the man said.
"After a while, the soap battle would lead to wrestling and him maneuvering me onto the ground," he said.
Mr. Sandusky would place his genitals near the boy's face.
"There were times when I would try to resist," he testified. "You could tell, once I pushed away, he got angry.
"It was never talked about. Ever. It was like nothing ever happened."
The witness said Mr. Sandusky attempted to penetrate him digitally and with his penis, but that he resisted successfully.
In one instance, where he said Mr. Sandusky was lying on top of him in the shower, "I pushed with all my might and slid out from underneath him.
"Nobody said anything."
Still, he said oral sex occurred "almost every time I'm over there. And I'm over there two or three times a week."
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III repeatedly asked why the young man never went to anyone to complain.
Keeping his voice strong and clear, the man repeated his response.
"I didn't want to lose. This is something good happening to me. I didn't really have a dad or a father. I'm liking everything I'm getting."
He told the jury that Mr. Sandusky took him to home Penn State football games, and he got to go onto the field.
"There'd be times I'd be on the sidelines," he said.
"Did you like it?" Mr. McGettigan asked.
"Oh, I loved it," he answered. "At this time, Penn State was really good."
He described himself as being like a mascot for the team and said he had relationships with other coaches and some of the players. The prosecution showed pictures of the witness as a boy with former Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington. He also said Mr. Sandusky gave him Mr. Arrington's uniform to wear and told him that, even though the boy did not play football, he could get a spot on Penn State's team as a walk-on.
Over the years, he said Mr. Sandusky bought him hockey and football equipment, a snowboard and shoes.
"Everybody was always extremely nice to me," he said.
"Did you tell anyone else?" Mr. McGettigan asked.
"No. Not ever. I was too scared to."
The witness said he believed his classmates were jealous of him and all the benefits he got by being friends with Mr. Sandusky. At the same time, though, he said that they teased him, and implied he was having an improper relationship with the man.
"I denied it forever," he said.
Although he was often at the Sandusky home, he said Ms. Sandusky was kind of "cold" toward him.
He traveled with the couple to the Alamo Bowl in Texas and stayed in the same room. Mrs. Sandusky had left the room, and the boy went in to get a shower when, he testified, Mr. Sandusky stepped into the bathroom with him.
He told the jury that Mr. Sandusky pushed his head down to perform oral sex, and when the boy tried to resist, "He said, 'You don't want to go back [home], do you?' "
Ten seconds later, he continued, they heard the hotel room door open. The bathroom door was open a crack.
"She was, obviously, right next to the door. She said, 'What are you doing in there?' I hurried up and shut the door. When I got out of the shower, Dottie was gone."
In the incident with Matt Sandusky, the witness said he went to play racquetball with Matt and Jerry Sandusky.
Afterward, they returned to the coach's locker room to shower, but when Matt Sandusky, a teen at the time, saw his father begin pumping soap into his hands from the dispenser, the young man quickly left the showers.
"At that point, Matt got up and left. He went out to the other locker rooms and got a shower."
The witness described the look on Matt Sandusky's face as "nervous."
In the incident with Mr. Bradley, he said that he and Jerry Sandusky were showering when the other coach entered the showers.
"I can't say if he was suspicious, but he stayed in there and showered and stayed until we left."
The witness said Mr. Sandusky once drove him to buy marijuana and bought the boy cigarettes. The coach also completed a summer correspondence course for the boy for school.
"He treated me like a son in front of other people. Outside of that, he kind of treated me like a girlfriend," he said.
One of the things that clearly bothered the witness was when he described the defendant putting his hand on his knee when they were together in a car.
"It freaked me out, extremely bad. I could not stand that," the man said. He described it as being the way he'd act with a girlfriend.
Once, when Mr. Sandusky repeatedly placed his hand on the boy's leg while another friend was in the backseat, the witness said he struck Mr. Sandusky with a bottle.
"I shrugged him away first, multiple times, and he didn't stop," he said. "I didn't want [the friend] to see that in any shape or form."
The witness repeated on cross-examination what he'd said earlier.
"I kind of looked at Jerry as a father figure because I didn't have anyone else. I feel cool, because I -- besides that -- I'm hanging out with players all the time. I don't want to lose someone paying attention to me.
"I didn't really ever want to admit it's happening. I've spent so many years burying this in the back of my head. I thought I was the only person. I feel responsible for what happened to the other victims. I feel if I would have come forward back then, this wouldn't have happened over and over again."
It was in the year 2000 that the witness said he began to attempt to distance himself from Mr. Sandusky.
"I started getting older, got a girlfriend," he said.
Still, it took two years until he finally broke away.
"He'd send me letters, call," the witness said. "He started to get the picture. It took awhile."
Mr. McGettigan showed a number of those letters on a large projection screen in the courtroom.
Most were written on Penn State letterhead. In one, Mr. Sandusky wrote, "I know that I have made my share of mistakes. I hope that I will be able to say that I cared. There has been love in my heart. My wish is that you care and have love in your heart. Love never ends."
In another, he criticized the boy for not following through on his commitments.
In another, Mr. Sandusky wrote: "I write because you mean so much to me. I write because of the churning in my stomach when you don't care."
The prosecution also showed the witness copies of contracts he signed with Mr. Sandusky, that spelled out how much time each week the boy had to spend with Mr. Sandusky, participate in sporting activities and earn good grades in school.
Later in the day, an administrator with The Second Mile said he'd never seen the contracts before, and that they were not standard for the agency.
During opening statements, defense attorney Joe Amendola told the jury he believed the alleged victims were seeking a financial payout and that six out of the eight had already hired civil attorneys.
The man identified as Victim No. 4 said his father hired his attorney for him, and that he has never paid him anything, and that he's unaware of any contingency fee involved.
In his 40-minute opening, Mr. Amendola attempted to defend his client's behavior by saying that even though his behavior was unusual, he did 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 The Second Mile, Mr. Amendola said, because his client believed that was a way to hold the troubled children to a promise to become successful.
Mr. Amendola compared his task in defending the case with "climbing Mount Everest. David vs. Goliath."
In his opening statement, Mr. McGettigan said Mr. Sandusky, 68, engaged in "serial predatory behavior," and that 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 the abuse "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 trial before McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland in the Centre County Courthouse is expected to last three weeks. It resumes at 9 a.m. today.