Jerry Sandusky trial: First accuser describes claims against former coach
Sandusky faces 52 counts that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he denies. He could spend the rest of his life in state prison if convicted.
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania — Testimony in the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant college football coach Jerry Sandusky was to continue Tuesday with so-called Victim 1, a young man whose mother contacted authorities and started the investigation that eventually led to dozens of charges.
Sandusky faces 52 counts that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he denies. He could spend the rest of his life in state prison if convicted. His arrest last year shamed one of the country's most stories sports programs and led to the ouster of beloved Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the university's president.
Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola has said the case is flimsy and that some of the accusers have a financial stake in the case — a preview of the battle to come as the defense tries to undermine the credibility of the young men upon whom the case rests.
The first witness to take the stand Monday said he regretted having kept the alleged sexual abuse a secret and feels guilty because of the other boys that prosecutors say were victimized after him.
Called Victim 4 in court papers but identified by his name in court, he told jurors that the 68-year-oldSandusky molested him in the locker room showers and in hotels while trying to ensure his silence with gifts and trips.
He was the first of as many as eight young men who may take the stand.
In opening statements to the jury, lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan described Sandusky as a "serial predator" and noted there were several missed chances for authorities to intervene before Sandusky was eventually arrested.
McGettigan said Sandusky methodically used his youth charity, The Second Mile, to zero in on fatherless children or those with unstable home lives, plied them with gifts and took advantage of them sexually.
Until Monday, none of them had testified publicly, and their identities were shielded. The Associated Press typically doesn't identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes.
Amendola said Sandusky family members would testify, and at one point suggested Sandusky himself might take the stand.
Victim 4 acknowledged he had at first lied to police and even his own attorney about the alleged abuse.
"I don't even want to be involved now, to be honest," he said.
In public, he said, Sandusky would assume a fatherlike role and image, but in private it was a different story.
The man said he met Sandusky through The Second Mile and that they began showering together in 1997. What began as "soap battles" quickly progressed to oral sex and other contact, the accuser said, adding that he was powerless to resist the advances of the much larger man.
During his opening statement, Amendola said Sandusky's showering with children was innocuous and part of his upbringing in Pennsylvania, where his parents ran a rec center.
"In Jerry's culture, growing up in his generation, where he grew up, he's going to tell you it was routine for individuals to get showers together," the lawyer said. "I suspect for those of you who might have been in athletics, it's routine."