Alleged victim’s mom called cops about Jerry Sandusky in 1998
A 25-year-old man testified on Thursday in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial that the former Penn State University assistant football coach bear-hugged him in a shower when he was a boy, as prosecutors moved closer to wrapping up their case.
The man was the sixth of eight alleged child sex abuse victims to testify in the closely watched trial in Pennsylvania.
Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Pennsylvania State University’s successful football program, faces 52 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. If convicted on all counts, he faces a sentence of more than 500 years in prison.
The witness said he had met Sandusky in 1998 when he was 11 years old at a picnic hosted by the Second Mile, a charity Sandusky had founded.
The witness said Sandusky invited him to work out at a Penn State campus gym, which was deserted when they went there late in the day. The two wrestled and lifted weights for about 15 minutes and then Sandusky told him it was time to shower, the witness said.
“My immediate thought was, ‘I’m not really sweating yet, it’d only been about 15 minutes,” said the man.
In the shower, Sandusky grabbed him from behind and said playfully, “I’m going to squeeze your guts out” and bear-hugged him, the man testified haltingly.
Sandusky also lifted him up to rinse shampoo out of his hair. “That’s the last thing I remember about being in the shower. It’s all black,” said the man, identified in court documents as Victim 6.
The boy’s mother reported the incident to university police and it was investigated but no charges were filed.
The man testified that he had continued to have contact with Sandusky. He sent Sandusky emailed Fathers Day and Thanksgiving Day greetings in 2009. The man said the email was one he had sent to all those on his list of friends.
When defense attorney Joe Amendola asked the witness, “Did the change in your attitude have anything to do with hiring an attorney and thinking that there might be some financial gain for you?,” the man answered: “Zero.”
Three alleged victims were set to testify against the 68-year-old Sandusky on Thursday after three others offered testimony on Wednesday accusing him of sexually abusing them in showers, bedrooms and basements when they were young boys.
Judge John Cleland told jurors at the close of Wednesday’s session in Centre County Court in Pennsylvania that the trial was running much more quickly than expected. The prosecution, which began presenting evidence on Monday, could conclude its case by Friday.
“It would appear that by Friday the commonwealth will have enough time comfortably” to finish, he said. At the trial’s start, Cleland had said it would go on until the end of the month.
Of the alleged victims – known in court documents as Victims 1 to 10 – eight agreed to testify against Sandusky. Those who have testified have offered sometimes-graphic accounts of abuse, including oral sex. Two of the accusers remain unidentified.
The defense has said it could call dozens of witnesses when it presents its case. They include Sandusky’s wife Dottie and other family members. Amendola has argued that the accusers are out for money. He has said that Sandusky might have acted inappropriately but is not a molester.
The trial is taking place amid a heavy media presence in the small town of Bellefonte, about 10 miles northeast of State College, site of Penn State’s main campus.
Sandusky, who retired in 1999, is accused of meeting the boys through the Second Mile.
The case prompted the firing of university President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, record-holder for most wins by a major U.S. college football coach. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.