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Sandusky Trial: Defense May Rest Wednesday; Jury Could Begin Deliberations as Early as Thursday

by on June 18, 2012 9:56 AM

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article contains graphic content)

Updated at 2:25 p.m.

BELLEFONTE – Judge John Cleland said the defense could rest its case in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial as early as Wednesday – and the jury could start deliberations by Thursday.

Court recessed for the day around 2 p.m. Monday, with Judge John Cleland citing "technical issues" regarding witnesses.

During deliberations, Cleland said the jury will be sequestered and will stay in a hotel as long as it takes to decide a verdict.

The afternoon was otherwise characterized by short testimonies – in total, three witnesses took about 25 minutes to be questioned and cross-examined.

A Penn State employee, a former board member from The Second Mile and an school teacher from Bellefonte Elementary School took the stand, but no one took it as an opportunity to give any accolades to Sandusky or confirm or deny his activity with children.

The former Second Mile employee, David Pasquinelli was the character witness to attest to Sandusky's character and his interaction with children.

"I saw a lot of goofing around... Jerry had a unique way," Pasquinelli said. "He inspired a lot of us how to get on their level and communicate."

The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Updated at 12:05 p.m.

BELLEFONTE – Former Penn State football player and assistant coach Dick Anderson was the first witness called by the defense when its case opened around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

Anderson said he never saw any inappropriate contact between Jerry Sandusky and young boys and he had no idea Sandusky was prohibited from bringing boys onto Penn State’s campus.
“(Sandusky) had a wonderful reputation in the community, he was well-thought of in every regard,” Anderson said.
During cross-examination, Anderson said he used to see Sandusky bring boys into the Lasch Football Building shower. When asked if he personally ever showered with boys, Anderson said yes – but that was at the local YMCA, where many people would occupy the showers at any given time and in the Penn State locker room showers, though he was never alone with one.

Coaches were in and out of the showers when Sandusky was in there with boys, Anderson said.
Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan, speaking much more brusquely during cross-examination than previously, asked Anderson if he ever brought boys into the shower, to a hotel room or to any bowl games.

Anderson said it was “common” for Sandusky to bring boys involved with his charity, The Second Mile, to various events. Many alleged victims have testified Sandusky brought them to the hotel at Toftrees where the football team would stay the night before a Saturday home football game. Anderson never brought a young boy to the hotel but said he would have if he knew he needed emotional support in some way.

But would he sleep in the same bed?

“If necessary, I would do that,” Anderson said.

McGettigan was stopped by Judge John Cleland before he could ask if Anderson told police years ago he “had heard rumors” about Sandusky’s contact with minors.
When Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, asked him how much time an assistant coaching job took up on weekends, Anderson said “not much.”
Anderson, now retired and living in State College after not being retained by head coach Bill O'Brien, said he never really lost contact with his former teammate and colleague. The bulk of his testimony surrounded an assistant football coach’s schedule – which, between practice, games, banquets, speaking engagements and travel, left little to no time for personal pursuits, Anderson said.
Also during cross-examination, McGettigan showed Anderson a series of photos featuring alleged victim No. 4, many of the same that he showed during Victim 4’s testimony. Anderson said he did not recognize the boy in the photographs.
Booker T. Brooks was the second former Penn State football assistant coach to testify for the defense. He moved back to State College after several years in other coaching positions.

“When you work with a person over several years, 14 hours a day, you get to know a person,” Brooks said of his tenure with Sandusky.
“Jerry is well-known, certainly in the coaching world,” Brooks said.  “Top-notch, words come to mind like that.”
Brooks also testified that showering with boys was a normal occurrence, both when he was a boy and as a coach.
Brooks told the court he brings his granddaughter to the local Y.M.C.A, and, as she is not old enough to be alone in a locker room, he takes her in with him.
“We go in and we shower and I put dry clothes on her,” he said.
During cross-examination, Brooks said he would consider bear hugging a child while naked in the shower to be inappropriate contact before adding “only if that were the case.”
During earlier testimony before the prosecution wrapped up its case, the mother of alleged victim No. 9 said she sent her son to Jerry Sandusky’s house even after he started complaining about not wanting to.
She now feels responsible for what happened to her son.
“I would ask him why and he said he wouldn’t feel like it and I would make him go anyway,” she said.
Her son never told her about the abuse he was suffering at the hands of Sandusky. Through tears, she said she couldn’t bring herself even to listen to his testimony on Thursday, where he recounted the dozens of times he was sodomized by Sandusky in the basement.
“I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry,” she said. “He just told me he had an accident and he threw them out.
“He told me his stomach always hurt and he couldn’t use the bathroom right,” she said.
Doctors told the mother of Victim 9 that her son was suffering from acid reflux but he never had a full physical until he turned 16 and was applying for a driver’s license.
The woman with a small frame and shaky voice testified Monday morning about her son’s relationship with Sandusky.

The mother of Victim 9, who was working two jobs during her son’s youth, said Sandusky had little contact with her and would contact her son directly. As he started spending more time with Sandusky, his behavior took a turn for the worse.
“He had a lot of stomach problems. He was sick a lot. He had behavior issues and his sleep patterns were very different. His school work was very difficult,” she said.
“He was isolating himself,” she said during cross-examination. “He wasn’t bad in school, he just didn’t care.”
Sandusky’s lawyer, Amendola, spent only a few minutes cross-examining the mother of Victim 9 and did not ask much about the boy’s missing underwear.
Victim 9 said on Thursday he bled, but “had his own way of dealing with things.”
The defense called a character witness to testify. The first, a 30-year old Army veteran who served in Germany, Baghdad and Afghanistan said he attended Second Mile camps as a child. He received tickets from Sandusky and would take his mother or sister to games, he said, but didn’t have much contact with Sandusky other than that.
He said another former Second Mile camper he knew spoke “very highly” of Sandusky. Prosecutors did not question him for more than a few minutes.

Earlier at 9:56 a.m.

BELLEFONTE – Judge John Cleland denied Jerry Sandusky's petition Monday morning for the dismissal of at least a dozen counts against him.

Prosecutors did withdraw one count against Sandusky, unlawful contact with a minor, because the law that drew the charge did not exist when the alleged crime occurred. That charge was filed regarding Alleged Victim 7.

Sandusky, 68, still faces 51 counts in a child sexual abuse case. He maintains his innocence.

Karl Rominger, counsel for the defense, used the argument that a lack of specificity in testimony by the alleged victims regarding dates and evidence of their abuse should constitute grounds for a dismissal of certain charges.

Rominger said charges having to do with Victims 2 and 8 should be dropped because the jury can only speculate as to the ages of the alleged victims.

Charges filed following former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary's testimony before the grand jury should be dropped, Rominger said, because McQueary could not say if there was actual penetration occurring when he walked in on Sandusky and a boy in the shower of the Lasch Football Building locker room in 2001 as he did not actually see genitals.

The defense has filed several documents before in an attempt to have Sandusky's charges dropped. Each time, Cleland has denied the motion. He denied the motion again Monday morning because he said there is enough circumstantial evidence for the jury to speculate as to what might have happened to the victims at the hands of Sandusky.

Cleland also said through amendments to information regarding dates of alleged abuse, the Commonwealth has met the standards of due process.

Court adjourned until 10 a.m. Prosecutors will present one more "short" witness before the defense opens its case.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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