BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky pinned down a foster child and performed oral sex on him, threatened to keep him from seeing his family if he reported what happened and then later told him he loved him, the accuser testified Wednesday.
The man, now 25 and called Victim 10 by prosecutors, told jurors Sandusky assaulted him in the basement of the former Penn State assistant football coach’s State College home in the late 1990s, then threatened to keep him away from his biological family.
“He told me that if I ever told anyone that I’d never see my family again,” the accuser testified, adding that he believed Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was home at the time.
Later, Sandusky offered a more conciliatory tone.
“He apologized for saying that,” the witness said. “He told me he didn’t mean it and that he loved me.”
The man said Sandusky also assaulted him on other occasions in 1998 and 1999, including once at a pool and another time in the same basement that involved mutual oral sex. He said he was about 11 years old at time of the alleged assaults.
The alleged victim is one of two who came forward after Sandusky was initially charged in November with assaulting eight boys. Sandusky is on trial on 52 criminal counts involving alleged assaults over a 15-year span.
Images and stories of the boys — now young men — were also part of the opening statements prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III gave Monday in the case against the former Penn State football coach accused of preying on and coercing vulnerable boys into sexual contact.
“He was making each of these young men more and more accustomed to an escalating level of touching,” McGettigan told the jury during his opening remarks.
In an opening statement that ran about an hour, he termed Sandusky a “serial predator.”
The jurors listened attentively — as most appeared to throughout the day — as McGettigan, standing in front of them, gave an overview of Sandusky’s charges.
McGettigan warned that he will have to press the young men for details of what happened — and jurors saw the beginning of that with testimony from one alleged victim Monday.
He offered an explanation about why they may not have come forward and instead said nothing when the alleged abuse was taking place.
Humiliation and shame, he said, coupled with fear that what had shamed them could be exposed.
McGettigan said a defendant doesn’t have to testify, but either way the jury heard from Sandusky, who gave a telephone interview broadcast on television with Bob Costas and another interview with The New York Times after the charges were filed.
When speaking with the Times’ reporter, Sandusky said he was attracted to children, prompting Amendola to add that it wasn’t in a sexual way, McGettigan noted.
The lead prosecutor also said that The Second Mile — the charity for at-risk youths Sandusky founded and through which he met the alleged victims — is not on trial. Neither is Penn State, he said — although, he raised the question about whether it is possible that earlier signs of abuse could have been observed.
Likewise, McGettigan said, law enforcement could have behaved in a better fashion.
The jurors first listened as Senior Judge John Cleland explained the weight of their responsibilities and what is expected of them.
“You represent the conscience of your community,” Cleland said.
“It’s your sworn duties as jurors to follow my ruling on matters of law, whether or not you agree with them,” Cleland added.
But, he told them, he is not the judge of testimony and that is for them to decide.
“You the jurors are the sole judges of the facts,” Cleland said.
He also warned the jurors not to discuss the case — even with each other — or read or listen to any news reports.
He used 360-plus bound pages to demonstrate why. He said it was a transcript from one day of testimony in another case. Next, he showed a newspaper article of 950-plus words.
He said the story wasn’t inaccurate, just incomplete.
“You have the best seats in the courthouse,” he told the jurors, urging them to look at and listen to the witnesses.
And, Cleland told them not to deliberate as the case moves along, instead waiting until all testimony has been heard, all evidence received and his instructions have been read.
Cleland has said the case is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
©2012 Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services