Prosecution wrapping up Sandusky case
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for the fourth day of his trial at the Centre County Courthouse.
Joe Amendola, attorney for Jerry Sandusky, loads boxes onto a cart Thursday after arriving for the fourth day of Mr. Sandusky's trial at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.
The prosecutor in the Sandusky case, Joseph E. McGettigan III, center, outside the Centre County Courthouse.
Share with others:
BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A young man who said he slept over at Jerry Sandusky's home more than 50 times in three years testified Thursday that he felt abandoned because Mr. Sandusky never attempted to contact him when he was sent to a group home.
Identified as Victim 3 and now 25 years old, the Army National guardsman who spent a year in Iraq told of sexual abuse that occurred repeatedly, but also about his close relationship with the former Penn State University assistant football coach.
"It made me feel like I was part of something, a family," he testified.
"Did he treat you nice all the time?" asked Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III.
"Yes," the witness answered.
"Did you like him?" the prosecutor continued.
"I loved him."
Although it did not formally rest, the prosecution is believed to have completed its sexual abuse case against Mr. Sandusky, after calling a total of 20 witnesses, including eight alleged victims.
The defense will begin presenting evidence Monday and is expected to conclude its case by the middle of next week.
During his testimony Thursday morning, the man identified as Victim 3 told the jury he was mad at Mr. Sandusky when his mother sent him to a group home and into foster care.
"He never even contacted me. My mom never even heard from him to find out where I was," he said. "I got sent away, and that was it. I prayed he would call me and find a way to get me out of there."
The witness, who couldn't remember the last time he saw his real father, said he viewed Mr. Sandusky in that light. He met the man during an event sponsored by Second Mile, the charity founded by Mr. Sandusky, and they quickly started to go on outings together. He was in fifth grade.
When he slept over at Mr. Sandusky's home, the witness said the older man would ask him why he slept with his clothes on and coerce him to strip down to his underwear.
Mirroring the testimony of many other alleged victims, the witness said Mr. Sandusky would join the boy on the waterbed in the basement bedroom, tickle him, then rub his stomach and blow on him, the witness said. Then, he continued, the man would touch his penis. That kind of touching happened frequently during the visits, the young man said.
When asked by Mr. McGettigan if he asked the defendant to stop, the witness said he did not.
"I was enjoying the things I was getting too much," he said.
The young man also testified to an incident in a Penn State locker room shower, when he said he tried to shower away from the defendant.
"He would make me feel bad about it," he said. "That I didn't love him, that I was mad at him."
The witness said in the shower, Mr. Sandusky put him in a bear hug and washed his shoulders, back and buttocks.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Joe Amendola, the man said the defendant never forced him to perform oral sex on him, or did it to him.
The witness said he does have civil attorneys but told Mr. Amendola they sought him out.
The prosecution's last witness Thursday was the person identified in the second grand jury presentment as Victim 9. He is 18 and came to investigators' attention when his mother called them shortly after the news of Mr. Sandusky's arrest broke in early November. The teen attended Second Mile summer camps for three or four years and remembered meeting the defendant in the pool when he was playing with other kids around 2004 or 2005.
Mr. Sandusky asked if he would be interested in hanging out together, and the boy said yes.
The witness said he slept over Mr. Sandusky's home at least 100 times and almost always slept in the basement. Much like the man who testified earlier, the witness said the defendant would join him in bed. Touching evolved into kisses on the cheeks and then the lips, he said, before the defendant started touching the boy's penis.
He said he told his mom that Mr. Sandusky was "a touchy-feely kind of person," but nothing else.
His mother thought it was good for the boy to go out with Mr. Sandusky.
"My mom wanted me to go," he said. "How are you supposed to tell your mom something like that?"
The young man testified that Mr. Sandusky forced him to perform oral sex on him and eventually began sodomizing him.
"What was I going to do? Look at him, he's a big guy -- way bigger than me."
He described the defendant as being aggressive the first time he was raped and said he could not fight it, though he did call out for help.
Although Mr. Sandusky's wife was home when the assaults occurred, the witness said, she never entered the basement.
"No one could hear down there," he said.
When asked by Mr. McGettigan why he never told anyone, the young man was matter of fact.
"He's an important guy. Everybody knows him. He's a football coach. Nobody's going to believe kids."
On cross-examination, Mr. Amendola asked the witness if he ever sought medical treatment, and he said no.
"I just dealt with it," he said. "I have a different way of coping with things. I never told anybody."
The witness also said the sexual abuse continued even after he'd gone through puberty.
"He didn't lose interest because you had gotten older?" Mr. Amendola asked.
"I don't know," he replied.
The witness also told the defense that even though he stopped staying over Mr. Sandusky's home, he continued to receive football tickets from him, even attending a game with him just last year.
Also testifying Thursday was an investigator with the state attorney general's office who explained how prosecutors identified all the alleged victims and walked the jury through a number of documents used to bolster their case.
Anthony Sassano said he found lists of Second Mile participants in both the defendant's home and in about 20 boxes recovered from his abandoned office in the old East Area football building on campus. On at least three lists, the names of several men who have testified in the trial are included and marked with asterisks by them.
Mr. Sassano also said that at Mr. Sandusky's home he found a number of photographs of alleged Victim 1 from various activities, like wrestling matches and track meets.
The letters that were shown to the jury earlier in the trial were found among the boxes at the former coach's old office.
The defense spent only five minutes on cross examination of the agent.
Also testifying Thursday were the man identified as alleged Victim 6, as well as a retired police officer who investigated a case involving that boy in 1998.
The boy met Mr. Sandusky that year at a Second Mile picnic and said the first time they did any activity together, the coach took him to work out at Penn State. After 15 minutes, he said the defendant took him to shower.
During the shower, he said Mr. Sandusky joked around with him and put him in a bear hug.
His mother called the police the next day to report the man showering with her son. She was referred to former Penn State police Detective Ronald Schreffler. The retired officer testified that he interviewed the boy and later eavesdropped on a conversation between the boy's mother and the defendant.
During that talk, Mr. Sandusky said, "I wish I could ask for forgiveness. I know I cannot get it from you. I wish I was dead."
Mr. Schreffler also said he interviewed the defendant about showering with young boys, and "he stated something to the effect, 'maybe it was inappropriate, and he wouldn't do it again.' "
Even though the detective thought there was enough evidence to press charges, then-district attorney Ray Gricar did not, and nothing was ever filed.
The young man, who is now 25, said he continued his relationship with Jerry Sandusky until the summer of 2010, even after his mother's complaint led to an investigation.
In 2009, the witness said he sent the defendant a text message, in which he wrote, "Happy Thanksgiving. I'm glad God has placed me in your life. You are an awesome friend."
It wasn't until police came to interview him related to the current case in January 2011 that the witness said his perception toward the former coach changed.
"As I started to go over it in my mind, I quickly realized. My perceptions changed. Thinking of it as an adult versus as an 11 year old.
"What happened was inappropriate."
On cross-examination, Mr. Amendola asked, "Did your change in perception about what happened in the shower have anything to do with hiring an attorney and thinking there might be some financial gain for you?"
"Zero," the man answered.
First Published June 15, 2012 12:00 am