Jerry Sandusky sat expressionless in the central Pa. courtroom Wednesday as three more young men recalled their years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of the former Penn State assistant coach. Sandusky, who has pleaded not guilty, faces 52 counts of child abuse and faces more than 500 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Sandusky had an angry streak, one accuser testified. Victim No. 10 recounted to the court how Sandusky once threatened him into having sex. The young man, now 25, testified Tuesday that Sandusky pinned him down while they were alone in the basement of the coach’s home. After performing oral sex on him, he warned the boy, then about 11 years old, to keep quiet. “He told me that if I ever told anyone that I’d never see my family again,” Victim No. 10 testified. Sandusky’s gruffness didn’t last long, he recalled. Later, Sandusky apologized for saying that,” the witness said. “He told me he didn’t mean it and that he loved me.” The alleged victim, a foster child, first met Sandusky through the ex-football coach’s Second Mile charity. He admitted his own personal struggles, detailing how he spent nearly two years in state prison for robbery and involvement with drugs and alcohol.
Sandusky also had an inspirational side, according to another alleged victim. During cross-examination, Victim No. 7 admitted to writing a scholarship essay that praised Sandusky – nearly a decade after he was abused by him. In 2004, the alleged victim admitted he wrote: “[Sandusky] is such a kind and caring gentleman and I will never ever forget him” and that the football coach “changed my perceptions on life in a positive way.” The alleged victim met Sandusky in 1995 through The Second Mile charity when he was just 10 years old. He testified that he wasn’t forced to perform any sexual acts with Sandusky; instead, he said, their contact was limited to showering together in the football locker room, groping, body rubbing and stomach blowing, much like the other alleged victims have claimed, but stopped short of oral sex. He was clear that those actions were unsolicited, though he put up with the contact. “I wanted to go to games, I tried to block that stuff out and focus on the positives,” Victim No. 7 told the court. The alleged victim, now 27 and still living in the State College area, noted that he received tickets to Penn State football games from Sandusky until 2009: “I was not mad at Sandusky until recently.” The unwanted contact with a shirtless Sandusky, though, has given the man an aversion to chest hair, he told the court. The prosecution cut him off as he described why he ended his relationship with Sandusky in 2009.
Many of the ten alleged victims knew each other. But none knew the others were also being abused, the court heard. According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Mark Dent, the prosecution displayed a 1999 photo of Sandusky flanked by eight kids. At least five of those appearing in the photo are alleged victims. It’s understandable that the young boys would run into each other, considering that Sandusky freely handed gifts to the kids, the most coveted of which were tickets to Penn State games. Defense attorney Joseph Amendola argued that Sandusky’s accusers could be conspiring against their former mentor. Victim No. 7 admitted during his testimony that he remains friends with Victim No. 6, though he said it was simply a supportive friendship where they try not to discuss the abuse they suffered by Sandusky.
Mike McQueary’s father held up his son’s pivotal testimony. John McQueary was the first call Mike McQueary made after happening upon the supposed abuse in the Penn State locker room. He said his son sounded distraught on the phone: “I just saw something… I saw Coach Sandusky in the shower with a young boy,” Mike supposedly said that night in 2001. While Mike McQueary testified Tuesday that he didn’t describe the specific sex act that he stumbled upon, John McQueary claimed little was left to the imagination. “It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see what was going on. It’s difficult, you just don’t go talking to your dad about stuff like this,” the elder McQueary testified. The decision to act was simple: “We determined that it was imperative that he report this to the authorities at Penn State,” the elder McQueary said. His testimony may also implicate Gary Schultz, the former Vice President for business and finance at Penn State. McQueary said that when he followed up on the accuations with administrators a few months later, Schultz admitted he had “heard noise about this before, earlier than Mike’s report.” Yesterday, the Attorney General filed a report revealing that Schultz, who faces perjury and failure to report charges, might have kept a formal file about Sandusky’s alleged crimes. Schultz has denied any wrongdoing.
Bob Costas’ strange interview with Sandusky was admitted as evidence. Before the court recessed Wednesday, prosecutors played back Sandusky’s awkward November 2011 interview where he admitted to showering and horsing around with young boys. Sandusky, who phoned into the NBC news show Rock Center to share his side of the story just two weeks after the scandal broke, ended up doing himself more harm than good. In attempting to explain his actions to Costas, he revealed rather salacious-sounding details of his contact with the young boys. “We were…actually sliding across the floor and we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel,” he said. Prosecutors didn’t give a reason for admitting the interview in court, but the interview was considered damning when it was emerged. Costas asked, “Are you sexually attracted to young boys?” And Sandusky seemed to stumble over his words, mustering a timid reply, “Sexually attracted, you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.” He ultimately admitted during the interview, “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”
Based on statements made earlier by his defense attorney, it’s rumored that Sandusky will take the stand in his own defense. The trial is expected to last three weeks.