Sandusky trial proceedings conclude for day
Dottie Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after testifying on behalf of her husband, Jerry, during his trial Tuesday afternoon.
Dottie Sandusky, wife of Jerry Sandusky, arrives at the Centre County Courthouse on Tuesday.
Jerry Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola enters the Centre County Courthouse today.
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BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Dorothy Sandusky took the witness stand this afternoon and denied ever seeing her husband inappropriately touch children.
Her voice mostly steady, she told the jury that children frequently visited the Sandusky home, including several who are among the eight who have accused the former Penn State University assistant football coach of molesting them.
She contradicted the testimony of two accusers, one of whom said Ms. Sandusky had entered a bathroom area of a hotel room while Mr. Sandusky was trying to engage in a sex act during a trip to the Alamo Bowl football game and the other who claimed to have screamed out when Mr. Sandusky made sexual advances in a basement bedroom of his home.
She testified that the incident at the bowl game was actually an argument between Mr. Sandusky and the child over plans to go to a luncheon that was related to the game. The child had said he wanted to go but then refused after the Sanduskys bought a $50 ticket, she said. "He was yelling," she said of her husband.
She never heard a scream from the basement, she said, despite having good hearing.
She also testified about a 1998 investigation after a parent complained that Mr. Sandusky had showered with her son, a case that resulted in no charges at the time. "It was investigated. A few days later we received a letter from the state" clearing Mr. Sandusky, she said.
She testified to having a closer relationship with many of the victims than the victims described in their testimony.
She was on the witness stand for less than an hour, with cross-examination lasting about 10 minutes. Mr. Sandusky has not yet testified.
Mrs. Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and issuing a statement in December that proclaimed his innocence and said that accusers were making up their stories.
She is not charged in the case.
One witness has already testified that he was assaulted in the Sandusky basement and once cried out for help when Dottie Sandusky was upstairs. Several witnesses testified that they were abused in the Sandusky basement.
A psychologist, testifying for the defense earlier this afternoon, said that Jerry Sandusky has histrionic personality disorder, characterized by "a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking."
The defense offered Dr. Elliot Atkins' testimony only as an explanation for letters Mr. Sandusky wrote to some of his accusers, described earlier in the trial by one witness as "creepy love letters." He said that the disorder could lead to inappropriate sexual or provocative behavior and could explain letters written to alleged victims by Mr. Sandusky.
McKean County Senior Common Pleas Judge John M. Cleland told jurors that lawyers on both sides had agreed that the doctor's diagnosis was not offered to explain or excuse any other conduct. Prosecutors are expected to call their own expert who will dispute Dr. Atkins' findings.
Prosecutor Joe McGettigan III, on cross-examination, asked Dr. Atkins whether the symptoms he described for histrionic personality disorder could be symptoms of other disorders, including psycho-sexual disorders. Dr. Atkins said that they could be characteristic of other disorders, including that one.
After Mrs. Sandusky's testimony, the prosecution called Dr. John O'Brien to discuss Mr. Sandusky's possible personality disorders. He testified that Mr. Sandusky does not suffer from histrionic personality disorder. He said the defendant was administered two personality tests and that he appeared to embellish his answers to portray himself in a more favorable light. Today's proceedings concluded after his testimony.
p>Also this afternoon, defense witness Joshua Frabel of Lock Haven testified that the mother of the accuser known as Victim 1 boasted in 2008 that she was going to get rich from suing Mr. Sandusky. He testified that she once said she would own Mr. Sandusky's house and on another said she intended to buy "a big house in the country with a white fence where her dogs can roam."
Testifying immediately before Mr. Frabel, the woman denied making those remarks.
Earlier today, lead defense attorney Joe Amendola called state police Cpl. Scott Rossman and retired Cpl. Joseph Leiter in a bid to show jurors that investigators led the accusers to make up stories about alleged abuse by the former Penn state assistant football coach.
He then played a tape of the April 21, 2011, interview. Cpl. Leiter tells the man who later would be identified as Victim 4 in the case that he was not the first person interviewed, that there were nine others, and that their stories were similar.
"There's a pretty well-defined progression in the way he operated and still operates I guess to some degree," the officer said. He went on to tell the would-be accuser that in some cases, Mr. Sandusky allegedly went beyond touching or fondling children. "There have been acts of oral sex that have taken place," and an incident "classified as rape."
"I don't want you to feel ashamed because you're a victim in this whole thing. What happened happened. He took advantage of you. We need you to tell us that this is what happened. We need you to tell us as graphically as you can what took place," the corporal said.
Under questioning by lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan, Cpl. Leiter defended his method and said he never intended to elicit anything but the truth from the interview.
Mr. Amendola also called Victim 4's civil attorney, who was present at that interview, and asked him whether a guilty verdict against Mr. Sandusky would be advantageous to him in a subsequent civil lawsuit. He has argued that some of Mr. Sandusky's accusers are in the case for money.
"We haven't even discussed filing a civil case," said Harrisburg attorney Benjamin Andreozzi.
Mr. Amendola also called several more character witnesses this morning who said Mr. Sandusky enjoyed a strong reputation in the community.
"A class act," said former Penn State and NFL linebacker Lance Mehl, one of seven who testified about the defendant's character.
On his way into the courthouse this morning, Mr. Amendola was asked whether he intended to put the defendant on the stand. He told reporters they'd have to wait, and that it was like a soap opera.
The trial is in the Centre County Courthouse and started June 11. It is expected to go to the jury Thursday.
First Published June 19, 2012 8:01 am