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Defense begins presenting case in Sandusky child sex abuse trial

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

The defense began presenting its case in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse trial Monday as it called three witnesses to the stand, but it remains unclear if Sandusky himself would testify.

Sandusky, also a former Penn State assistant football coach, is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year-span. He denies any wrongdoing.

Former Penn State Assistant Coach Dick Anderson said that he never saw anything inappropriate when Sandusky brought boys into locker room showers.

"If Jerry would bring someone in with The Second Mile, they had been working out, for whatever reason they came in, it was not uncommon ... with the other coaches in the shower as well," Anderson said.

Anderson said it's also not unusual for him to shower with boys at the YMCA, either.

The judge overseeing the trial says it's likely that defense lawyers will rest by Wednesday and that jurors could be deliberating the 51 child sex abuse charges against Sandusky a day later.

Judge John Cleland told jurors of the tentative timeline after Sandusky's legal team called three witnesses Wednesday. All three say he was an admired local figure because of his ties to Penn State and the outreach of his charity, The Second Mile.

Afterward, court was recessed for the day to deal with what Cleland called a "technical issue" involving other witnesses.

After the proceedings ended for the day, when asked if he would testify, Sandusky looked a reporter in the eye and said nothing.

Cleland also tells jurors they will be sequestered for deliberations.

Earlier Monday, prosecutors rested their case after the mother of one of the alleged victims said her son's underwear was frequently missing from the laundry.

The mother of the teen called Victim 9 by prosecutors was the last witness called.

The woman's son testified Thursday that Sandusky had repeatedly forced him to have anal sex that resulted in bleeding. The teen testified that he "just dealt with it," while his mother claimed he'd thrown his underwear away because he had an accident.

"I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry," she said. "There was never any underwear, any socks ...that was odd to me."

The woman said her son told her that Sandusky called him late one night after the first round of charges were filed in November, asking if he'd be a character witness

Prosecutors also dropped one of the 52 counts against Sandusky because the statute he was charged under did not apply at the time of the alleged illegal contact.

The charge relates to an accuser identified by prosecutors as Victim 7.

During testimony, the man said the offense happened in 1995 or 1996, but the unlawful contact with a minor statute didn't apply until 1997, prosecutors told the judge overseeing the case. Three charges related to the man are still in effect, including attempted indecent assault.

Prosecutors presented 20 witnesses in the first four days of testimony last week, including eight boys who said Sandusky abused them.

The gripping, sometimes graphic testimony included details about gifts and trips to Penn State games that prosecutors sought to tie to escalating physical contact that started out as harmless affection and morphed into forced sex acts.

Defense attorneys have already gotten approval to argue that letters and other acts of alleged grooming by Sandusky are evidence of a personality disorder.

Jurors have already heard Sandusky deny the abuse allegations, in the form of an audio recording of a stilted television interview Sandusky conducted shortly after his November arrest.

The defense has sought to show how the stories of accusers have changed over time, that they were prodded and coached by investigators and prosecutors, that some are motivated to lie by the hopes of a civil lawsuit jackpot, and to paint Sandusky's interactions with children as misunderstood and part of a lifelong effort to help, not victimize, them.

In a recent court filing, Sandusky's lawyers have asked the judge to allow them to put before jurors the out-of-court statements made by former Penn State president Graham Spanier and Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, two university administrators who are fighting criminal charges they lied to the Sandusky grand jury and did not properly report suspected child abuse. If permitted, that could help Sandusky undercut the credibility of a witness who says he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a yet-unidentified boy in a team shower more than a decade ago. The judge has not ruled on the request.

During cross-examination, Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola pressed the accusers for dates and locations, details of their involvement with the kids' charity Sandusky founded, arrests or drug problems, contacts they had with Sandusky in the years since the alleged abuse ended and the terms of representation deals with civil lawyers. At least six said they told incorrect or incomplete stories in early contacts with police, and three testified that some of the details only came back to them in recent years.

During jury selection Sandusky's lawyers asked potential jurors about ties to a list of people who might be witnesses, including members of coach Joe Paterno's family and Dottie Sandusky. It is unclear, however, which of them will take the stand.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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