Sandusky’s child molestation trial begins; former assistant to testify
Bellefonte, PA, United States (AHN Sports) – Former Penn State University (PSU) assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was described by prosecutors as a “predatory pedophile who targeted fatherless boys with troubled home lives” Monday during the much-awaited start of his trial for multiple counts of alleged child molestation.
“They are real people with real experiences that you will come to know and understand. They were violated,” Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan said during his opening statement at the Centre County Courthouse.
McGettigan also presented photos of eight of Sandusky’s accusers when they were children to jurors and identifying them by name for the first time publicly.
Sandusky is charged with 52 counts involving the molestation of 10 boys over a 15-year period. Prosecutors alleged that Sandusky met all of them through The Second Mile, a charity the former coach founded for underprivileged youth in 1977.
Prosecutors said much of the abuse purportedly occurred on Penn State’s campus, in locker room showers and in the basement of his State College home. Sandusky has maintained his innocence.
Sandusky’s lead attorney Joseph Amendola maintained that his client is a victim of a group of troubled young men hoping to gain financially from their accusations.
“He thought of them as members of his extended family,” Amendola said. “But now six of the eight young men have civil lawyers. It is absolutely, totally unusual for an alleged victim to have an attorney outside of the Commonwealth.”
Amendola underscored to the jury Sandusky’s record of sports achievement and philanthropy in his community.
Amendola surprised everyone when he announced that Sandusky will testify on his own behalf at some point of the proceedings.
Later, a 28-year-old man testified about his relationship with Sandusky when he was still 13 years old.
He testified that “horsing around” in the campus locker room shower, initiated by Sandusky, evolved into wrestling and touching and then oral sex. At least one time, the man said, Sandusky attempted to penetrate him with a finger, and on another occasion, with his penis.
The man said Sandusky paid attention to him, gave him gifts and football uniforms, took him to Penn State games and hinted he could get a spot on the team as a player, despite weighing just 90 pounds.
“Basically like I was his girlfriend,” the witness testified. “It freaked me out. It happened almost every time I was in the car.”
He last saw Sandusky in 2002.