Jerry Sandusky Trial: Defense Focuses On Character Witnesses, But Will He Testify?

 @http://twitter.com/jtalty on June 19 2012 1:46 PM
A grand jury indicted Sandusky on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys on November 4th of last year.
A grand jury indicted Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys last Nov. 4. Reuters

Jerry Sandusky's attorneys began presenting their defense on Monday in his trial on multiple child sexual abuse charges.

Sandusky, 68, is now facing 51 counts of molesting 10 alleged victims over 15 years. Using his influence as a Penn State assistant football coach and his local charity, Second Mile, he preyed on young and disadvantaged victims, authorities charge. Sandusky maintains his innocence.

Judge John Cleland, who is overseeing Sandusky's trial in Centre County, Pa., says defense lawyers will likely rest by Wednesday. Jurors could be deliberating the 51 child sex abuse charges against the former Penn State defensive coordinator just one day later.

Richard Anderson, the first witness called by the defense after prosecutors presented their 21st and final witness Monday, said he never witnessed anything inappropriate.

The former Penn State assistant coach, who worked with Sandusky, testified that he and other members of the football staff were indeed present when Sandusky brought boys into the team's showers.

If Jerry would bring someone in with The Second Mile, they had been working out, for whatever reason they came in, it was not uncommon ... with the other coaches in the shower as well, Anderson said.

Anderson additionally testified that it's not unusual for him or other adults to be in the showers with young boys at the YMCA. The defense attempted to show that a coach showering with young boys was typical and appropriate behavior.

He also described how hectic the schedule was for football coaches at Penn State, including recruiting trips out of town and 14-hour workdays. The defense used this to suggest that Sandusky could not have had much time with the alleged victims as they claim.

Earlier Monday, prosecutors rested their emotionally charged case after the mother of one of the accusers said Sandusky raped her son in the basement of the former coach's home.

The woman said her son's laundry would often be short of underwear and he would claim he had thrown it away because he had accidents.

I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry, she said. There was never any underwear, any socks ... that was odd to me.

Last Thursday, the teen said Sandusky repeatedly forced him to have oral and anal sex that resulted in bleeding. The victim claimed that he just dealt with it.

The mother added that despite the boy's objections, she regrettably pushed her son to spend time with Sandusky because the boy had no father figure and she was busy working two jobs. During the years in which the boy was close to Sandusky, he developed a number of health ills, including stomach pains and sleep deprivation.

The woman then confirmed the testimony of her son, who said Thursday that Sandusky continued to call him as late as last November. Sandusky allegedly asked if he would be a character witness.

With the defense beginning its presentation of its case, many legal experts and observers agree that Sandusky was pummeled by the prosecution's witnesses. There was little attorney Joe Amendola or co-defense counsel Karl Rominger could do to stop the damaging accusations and evidence, and now, the defense team faces a daunting task.

Amendola and Rominger have therefore focused on inconsistencies among accuser testimonies. They have centered on the fact some alleged victims have continued their relationships with Sandusky into adulthood and suggested that some could be making accusations for financial gain through civil lawsuits.

Amendola was only once able to suggest that an alleged assault didn't happen. This occurred when Victim No. 10 claimed he was riding in a silver convertible with Sandusky.

He told me that he wanted me to perform oral sex on him and I told him no, the witness said. He got displeased with what I told him. He made a threat to me.

Victim No. 10 added that Sandusky later apologized and said he didn't mean to say it, and he loved me. However, Amendola stated that Sandusky has never owned such a car and no one has ever seen him driving one.

This is the best the defense has done at discrediting an alleged victim's testimony or proving that illegal contact did not occur. Things have not been promising for Sandusky.

After the prosecution's strong presentation of its case it is clear that Amendola needs to bring in facts that dispute the acts ever occurred.

Simply questioning character witnesses, family members who didn't notice anything unusual or Second Mile kids who had positive experiences will not be enough to challenge the state's case.

It is becoming more likely that the defense will be desperate enough to call Sandusky himself, despite his disastrous interview with NBC last November and other media outlets. His NBC interview included him pausing when asked by Bob Costas if he was sexually attracted to young boys before denying it.

Sandusky has previously acknowledged that he routinely showered with boys in Penn State football locker rooms. He also admitted to hugging them and touching them while they were naked.

Regardless of past experiences, Amendola hinted that Sandusky could take the stand during his opening arguments.

Sandusky would face a well thought out cross-examination by deputy attorney general Joseph E. McGettigan III, but after the prosecution's strong presentation, Sandusky's only chance of explaining his behavior may require him to take the stand.

For now however, Amendola will continue to go after the credibility of the witnesses who accuse Sandusky of sex abuse.

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