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Sandusky accused of abuse by adopted son; jurors meet

 

(Note: explicit sexual content)

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Jurors in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky resumed deliberations on Friday, sequestered and shielded from a shocking new accusation from Sandusky's adopted son that he, too, was abused by the former Penn State assistant football coach.

Jurors began discussions around midday Thursday to decide the trial of Sandusky, 68, who is accused of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, sometimes in Pennsylvania State University locker rooms.

Within hours on Thursday, the first reports surfaced about allegations by Matt Sandusky, 33, who was adopted by the family after living with them as a foster child.

"Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse," his lawyer, Andrew Shubin, said in a statement to the media co-signed by lawyer Justine Andronici. "This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt."

Jurors never heard testimony from Matt Sandusky. Details of his accusations - times, places and dates - have not been disclosed.

But eight accusers, now aged 18 to 28, did testify for the prosecution last week. They described in often graphic detail about meeting Sandusky as boys through his charity, the Second Mile, and then being abused by groping, shared showers, and oral and anal sex.

Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola said in closing arguments on Thursday that the onetime football coach had been ruined by false allegations by accusers hoping for a big payday down the road from civil lawsuits. He said those accusing his client had been coached by investigators and pressured by overzealous prosecutors.

When the criminal charges were filed late last year, "Mr. Sandusky's world came to an end, his wife's world came to the end, his children's world came to an end," Amendola said.

"I submit to you they were going to get him come hell or high water, even if they had to coach witnesses," Amendola said.

In the prosecution's final argument, Joseph McGettigan told the jury that Sandusky was a "serial predatory pedophile" who targeted young boys yearning for a father figure.

After several hours of deliberations, jurors told Judge John Cleland they wanted to rehear the testimony of Mike McQueary, the assistant coach who testified he witnessed Sandusky molesting a young boy in the showers of the Penn State football house in 2001.

The jury also asked to rehear the testimony of Jonathan Dranov, who heard an account from McQueary shortly after the shower incident about what he saw.

Because of the late hour, the judge told jurors they could hear the two hours of audio recordings on Friday, and he dismissed them for the night.

The trial, which so far has moved far more quickly than many observers had expected, has been the culmination of a high-profile case that became public last year. It put renewed attention on the issue of child sex abuse in the United States and prompted the firing in November of Penn State President Graham Spanier and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno, who won more games than any major college football coach, died of lung cancer in January.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Vicki Allen)