Two more witnesses detail abuse by Sandusky in trial
(Note: explicit sexual content)
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Two more men testified in Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial about being molested by the former Penn State assistant football coach, and a university campus detective on Thursday recalled Sandusky saying "I wish I were dead" after being confronted by an alleged victim's mother about showering with her son.
Prosecutors moved toward wrapping up their case in the closely watched trial in Pennsylvania. Judge John Cleland told jurors before breaking for lunch at the Centre County Court in Pennsylvania that prosecutors, who began presenting evidence on Monday, could conclude their case by Thursday afternoon.
Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Pennsylvania State University's successful football program, faces 52 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. If convicted on all counts, he faces a sentence of more than 500 years in prison.
The day's first witness was a 25-year-old man who said Sandusky bear-hugged him in a shower when he was a young boy and lifted him to rinse shampoo out of his hair, after which his memory of the event ends. "It's all black," he told jurors said.
Another 25-year-old man also told of showering with Sandusky as a young boy, sleeping at the former Penn State defensive coordinator's home and trying to "get away from him" when he touched his penis.
They were the sixth and seventh alleged victims to testify. The eighth and final of the alleged victims due to testify was set to appear later in the day. The judge told the jurors the trial was running much more quickly than expected.
Also testifying was Ronald Schreffler, a former Penn State campus detective who investigated one of the incidents and said he told Sandusky he should not shower with boys. No charges were brought against Sandusky at the time.
Sandusky, who retired in 1999, is accused of meeting his alleged victims through the Second Mile charity for needy boys that he founded.
The first witness of the day said he met Sandusky in 1998 when he was 11 years old at a picnic hosted by the Second Mile. Sandusky invited him to work out at a Penn State campus gym, which was deserted when they went there late in the day, the man testified. The two wrestled and lifted weights for about 15 minutes and Sandusky told him it was time to shower, he said.
"My immediate thought was, 'I'm not really sweating yet, it'd only been about 15 minutes," said the witness.
In the shower, Sandusky grabbed him from behind and said playfully, "I'm going to squeeze your guts out" and bear-hugged him, the man testified haltingly.
Sandusky lifted him to rinse shampoo out of his hair, he said. "That's the last thing I remember about being in the shower. It's all black," said the man, identified in court documents as Victim 6.
The boy's mother reported the incident to university police and it was investigated but no charges were filed.
The man testified that he had continued to have contact with Sandusky. He sent Sandusky emailed Fathers Day and Thanksgiving Day greetings in 2009. The man said the email was one he had sent to all those on his list of friends.
When defense attorney Joe Amendola asked the witness, "Did the change in your attitude have anything to do with hiring an attorney and thinking that there might be some financial gain for you?," the man answered: "Zero."
'I WISH I WERE DEAD'
Ronald Schreffler, a former Penn State University detective who investigated the incident, said that in agreement with the boy's mother he and another officer eavesdropped on her when she confronted Sandusky about it.
"During the course of the conversation, Mr. Sandusky made the statement, 'I wish I could get forgiveness, I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead,'" Schreffler testified.
He said he and an investigator for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare met Sandusky, and Schreffler told him he should not shower with boys again. Sandusky agreed and said he had used "bad judgment," Schreffler said.
The case, which has focused fresh attention in the United States to the issue of child sexual abuse, prompted the firing of university President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, record-holder for most wins by a major U.S. college football coach. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.
The seventh alleged victim to testify said that he had slept overnight at Sandusky's house about 50 times over a three-year period from 1998 to 2001. He said he had met Sandusky at a Second Mile event.
The witness said he slept all but one time in the basement and the coach often would get into bed with him and tickle, blow on his stomach, kiss his shoulders and sometimes touched his penis, giving him an erection.
"At that point I would roll over and try to get away from him. I knew I wasn't supposed to have one in front of a man," said the man, known in court documents as Victim 3.
He also went to work out at Penn State with Sandusky a few times. They showered together, and the coach bear-hugged him from front and back and soaped him, including on his buttocks, he said.
The man said he was living with his mother and younger brother at the time. When he was placed in group homes and then foster care, he said he never heard from Sandusky again.
Under cross examination by Amendola, the witness admitted inconsistencies in his testimony, such as not telling a grand jury in 2011 that Sandusky had soaped his buttocks or kissed his shoulders. He also had told the grand jury he had stayed at Sandusky's home a number of times in the upper 20s, not 50 as he testified on Thursday.
Reuters' policy is not to identify victims of sexual crimes.
Testifying on Thursday afternoon, Anthony Sassano, the lead investigator for the state attorney general's office, showed photos and other records of alleged victims that were recovered from Sandusky's home and from papers he had abandoned at Penn State when he retired in 1999.
Amendola has said the accusers are out for money. He has said that Sandusky might have acted inappropriately but is not a molester.
The trial is taking place amid a heavy media presence in the small town of Bellefonte, about 10 miles northeast of State College, site of Penn State's main campus.
(Additional reporting by Matt Morgan; Editing by Will Dunham)