A state court jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach accused of molesting young boys.
Sandusky, 68, has been on trial since June 11 in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Jurors deliberated for about 20 hours over two days.
The former coach, who denied the allegations, rested his defense without taking the witness stand. The jury started deliberating yesterday after lawyers for each side made their closing arguments.
Calling it a “daunting, daunting case,” lead defense attorney Joseph Amendola said today at the courthouse that he would be shocked if his client was acquitted on all counts, the Associated Press reported. Amendola also said that Sandusky had his wife, Dottie Sandusky, talk to a criminal defense lawyer, “just to be careful,” the AP reported.
Prosecutors say Sandusky used the charity he founded in 1977, the Second Mile, to recruit victims, “grooming” them with gifts, trips to football games and money, and luring them into university athletic shower rooms, hotels and his house. Some of his accusers took the witness stand to recount what Sandusky allegedly did to them as children.
“When there’s overwhelming evidence, the defendant does a number of things: He admits what he must, he denies what he can, calls everyone a liar, makes counter-charges,” the prosecutor, Joseph McGettigan, told the jury yesterday. “You always have to accuse the victims, you always have to allege a conspiracy, and that’s what you saw here.”
After deliberations began, lawyers for one of Jerry Sandusky’s adopted children, Matt Sandusky, said he had been abused by the former coach and had offered to testify in the case, the New York Times reported. Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, Matt Sandusky’s lawyers, said in a statement that they arranged a meeting between him and prosecutors and investigators at their client’s request, according to the Times. They gave no details and didn’t say why prosecutors didn’t call Matt Sandusky to testify, the newspaper said.
Matt Sandusky’s lawyers didn’t return calls for further comment and one of Jerry Sandusky’s attorneys, Karl Rominger, declined to respond to the statement, the Times said. Matt Sandusky, 33, had repeatedly denied being abused after the elder Sandusky’s arrest, the newspaper said.
Jerry Sandusky faces 48 counts related to the alleged assaults, including claims that he engaged in involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with children under 16. Each of those counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The panel asked to re-hear testimony from Michael McQueary, the former Penn State football graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky sexually assault a boy in a shower. Jurors also asked for the testimony of a defense witness who said McQueary offered a different account of the incident.
On Feb. 9, 2001, McQueary saw in the football building showers what prosecutors allege was Sandusky having anal sex with a boy. McQueary initially told a grand jury that the incident took place in March 2002. Prosecutors amended the date last month, citing “specific and authenticated findings” from an investigation. The identity of the boy is still unknown.
During most of a week of defense testimony, the defense presented witnesses who attested to Sandusky’s good character. His wife, Dottie, testified June 19 that she never had any indication of the misconduct attributed to her husband.
“All of these alleged charges only go back to the 1990s. So out of the blue, after all these years, when Mr. Sandusky is in his mid-50s, he decides to become a pedophile?” Amendola asked the jury. “Does that make sense to anybody?”
Witnesses testified during the two-week trial that Sandusky often had young men at his home and brought boys he had met through the Second Mile to football games and golf outings.
“Jerry Sandusky took these kids everywhere,” Amendola told jurors yesterday. Pedophiles don’t “parade” their victims around in public, the lawyer argued.
McGettigan, the senior deputy attorney general representing the state in the case, said the alleged victims testified that Sandusky preyed on boys from “fatherless families” who sought a male role model.
“That’s what you saw: a perfect, serial pedophile,” the prosecutor said.
The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Sandusky, CP-14-2422-2011, Court of Common Pleas, Centre County, Pennsylvania (Bellefonte).
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