Court discourse over the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal continues today in Bellefonte. Nine Centre County PA jurors, selected with regards to their ability to maintain objectivity towards the case, were chosen over two weeks ago from a pool of about 220.
Sandusky faces 52 sex abuse charges from 10 different boys over the course of more than 14 years. Victims claiming to have been groomed by Sandusky and at his Second Mile charity events, have testified to painful and humiliating forms of sexual behavior. One young man, now 18 years old, told of the many times Sandusky had forced him to perform oral sex when he’d slept over at his home. “He made me put my mouth on his privates.”
The youth explained last Tuesday, June 12, that he’d been embarrassed and confused at the time of the abuse, and was scared to tell the truth. Most people thought that Sandusky had “a heart of gold” at the time, so when the victim reported assaults to his high school guidance counselors in 2010, they didn’t believe him.
Micheal McQueary, a Penn State assistant football coach on leave, also testified. He said he’d witnessed Sandusky gripping a young boy’s stomach, while moving his hips back and forth in a campus locker room shower over 10 years ago. McQueary said there was no doubt that he had witnessed anal sex. “It was wrong. It was perverse. Both of them saw me. I got a good look into both of their eyes.”
Meanwhile, Sandusky’s friends bristled with anger and called McQueary a liar.
The case claims numerous victims. There are ten alleged, not merely one or two, and Sandusky’s defense may have a hard time discrediting so many testimonies. Many have been accompanied by heavy weeping at the stand. Some of the reports seem to be nuanced with date inconsistencies, but this could be a result of memory lapses. Said Jennifer Marsh of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, “It’s a natural reaction to trauma.”
Sandusky’s defense lawyer, Joseph Amendola, held that these sob stories are simply tacit appeals for financial gain. He also proposed that some of the accusers knew each other prior to the scandal’s exposure and might have collaborated as hopeful means of Sandusky’s prosecution.
Judge John Cleland ruled last Friday, June 15, that Sandusky is allowed to have an expert explain the specifics of a psychiatric condition called histrionic personality disorder, in court. The disorder often manifests as a need to satisfy the psyche, Sandusky’s defense team stated, and not necessarily as a need to groom young boys.
The condition will not be used to justify Sandusky’s behavior, only explain it.
If the judge is to be convinced of Sandusky’s innocence however, the defense will have to distract him from victim evidence, and manipulate his focus towards the concept that public opinion does not garner commonwealth proof.
During an interview last November, Sandusky often hesitated and repeated several of his answers. Amendola said these discourse glitches were simply results of the coach’s mannerisms.
But the evidence against him, said Lancaster criminal defense attorney Steven L. Breit, is devastating. “ If I was counsel, I would never put him on . . .”
Considering the levity of the claims, Sandusky may soon trade in the bench for the floor. Breit continued, “they might not have any other choice.”