Jerry Sandusky Called ‘Serial Predator’ at Trial’s Opening
A jury in Pennsylvania listened closely today as prosecutors described former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky as a “serial predator” and a “predatory pedophile” who used fear and shame to keep his victims silent.
Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan began the trial by projecting the pictures of eight young boys whom Sandusky allegedly molested onto a screen in front of the courtroom. He said the alleged victims would testify, and the prosecution would provide supporting documents, photographs, and evidence to support their claims. They would also describe the investigation into Sandusky that led to the 52 counts charged against him.
McGettigan warned the jurors — jury of seven women and five men — that he would ask the victims, whom he referred to by their first names, to describe the sexual abuse they allegedly endured.
“I’m going to ask you to forgive me because I’m going to ask (the alleged victims) to back years to when they were children, and I’m going to press them for those details,” McGettigan said. “I’ve asked them to forgive me for the graphic answers. But I have to ask and they have to answer to go back in time.”
The prosecutor described a series of alleged molestations that ranged from Sandusky “spooning” with boys to anal penetration, and said most of the victims were boys who had no father in their lives.
The warning came on the opening day of the trial against Sandusky, who faces 52 counts of child sex abuse from 10 accusers. The arrest of the former Penn State coach last December sent shockwaves through the university, ending the careers of legendary head coach Joseph Paterno and university president Graham Spanier, and resulting in the arrest of two other school officials.
Sandusky, 68, arrived in the courtroom shortly after 9 a.m., in a dark gray suit. He sat flanked by his two defense attorneys, Joseph Amendola and Karl Rominger, and hunched forward over the defense table while he listened to McGettigan’s statements.
At least eight of the alleged victims in the case are expected to testify against Sandusky, including Victim 4, who is slated to testify first. Sources told ABC News ahead of the trial that Victim 4’s testimony will include love letters that Sandusky allegedly wrote him.
One victim is expected to testify about Sandusky’s wife, Dottie Sandusky, who has stood by her husband’s proclaimed innocence. The boy was allegedly coerced into performing oral sex on Sandusky while on a trip with him, his wife, and the football team. The act was interrupted when Dottie Sandusky walked into the hotel room, according to McGettigan.
The victim “just wanted a father figure,” McGettigan said. “But the defendant would spoon with him, put his hand down his pants, touch his genitals.”
A white tent was erected at the court’s side entrance where the witnesses are expected to arrive in order to protect them from the media and the public. Still, the alleged victims’ identities will be made public for the first time when they take the stand to testify and their names are read into the public record. ABC News does not report the names of alleged victims of sex crimes.
McGettigan also promised during opening statements to use Sandusky’s own media interviews against him in court, noting that the jury would hear Sandusky’s responses on NBC and in the New York Times to questions about his alleged crimes, prompting Amendola to confer with his paralegal.
The investigation began in 2008 when a high school student in Centre County, Pa., told his mother and school administrators that Sandusky had molested him, launching a widespread but secretive effort to interview dozens of boys Sandusky mentored through his charity, The Second Mile, as well as Penn State officials who may have seen or heard about inappropriate actions.
Charges of child sex abuse were brought against Sandusky on Nov. 4, 2011, igniting a firestorm of scandal around the prestigious football program that led to the dismissal of the university’s president and Paterno, and criminal charges against two school officials.
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