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Bellefonte, Pa. • Jerry Sandusky was either a "predatory pedophile" who lured young boys to Penn State with gifts and access to big-time football, or a victim of now-grown men who lied to get a payout, attorneys argued Thursday as the former coach's child sex abuse case went to a jury.
As jurors deliberated into the evening, one of Sandusky's adopted sons came forward for the first time to say that his father had abused him. Matt Sandusky, 33, was prepared to testify for prosecutors at the trial, his attorneys said in a statement. The statement didn't specify what the alleged abuse was.The elder Sandusky, who faces life in prison if convicted of 48 counts of abuse of 10 boys over 15 years, was smiling and chuckling to himself as prosecutors wrapped up closing arguments. His wife, Dottie, leaned forward in her seat with a concerned look, resting her chin in her hands.
The former assistant football coach was arrested last November in a scandal that led to the firing of beloved head coach Joe Paterno, who died of cancer in January, and the departure of the university's president.
The jury deliberated for more than eight hours Thursday before stopping at about 9:30 p.m.
Earlier in the evening, the panel asked the judge if they could rehear testimony from two witnesses: Mike McQueary, a onetime graduate assistant who reported seeing Sandusky assault a boy in a campus shower, and Jonathan Dranov, who testified that McQueary gave him a different account of what he saw.
They'll have a chance to listen again to that testimony, and restart deliberations, Friday.
Prosecutors said Sandusky was "a serial, predatory pedophile" who used gifts and the pageantry of Penn State's vaunted football program to attract and abuse vulnerable boys who came from troubled homes.
"What you should do is come out and say to the defendant that he molested and abused and give them back their souls," Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III told jurors. "I give them to you. Acknowledge and give them justice."
During his closing argument, McGettigan put up smiling pictures of eight accusers when they were children; all testified at trial that Sandusky molested them.
Standing behind Sandusky, McGettigan implored the jury to convict him.
"He molested and abused and hurt these children horribly," McGettigan said. "He knows he did it, and you know he did it. Find him guilty of everything."
Defense attorney Joseph Amendola argued that the 68-year-old Sandusky was targeted by investigators who coached accusers into making false claims about a generous man whose charity gave them much-needed love.
"They went after him, and I submit to you they were going to get him hell or high water, even if they had to coach witnesses," Amendola said in a sometimes angry closing argument.
The closing arguments came after seven days of testimony, some of it graphically describing alleged abuse suffered at the hands of Sandusky, including touching in showers, fondling and in some cases forced oral or anal sex. One alleged victim a foster child at the time testified that Sandusky threatened him, telling him he would never see his family again if he disclosed the assaults.
Prosecutors said Sandusky met his victims through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youth.
Eight young men testified that they were abused by Sandusky, and jurors also heard about two other alleged victims through other witnesses, including another former coach.
Sandusky has repeatedly denied the allegations, but he didn't testify during the trial.
But Amendola said the accusers' stories didn't make sense, since they also included frequent visits to Sandusky's home, trips to football games and other activities.
"Folks, you have to use your common sense," Amendola said. "Jerry Sandusky took these kids everywhere. Is that what a pedophile does? ... Does he parade these kids around?"
McGettigan countered with Sandusky's own words in a November interview with NBC's Bob Costas, in which he struggled to give direct answers to questions.
Asked if he was sexually attracted to boys, Sandusky said: "Sexually attracted, you know, I, I enjoy young people. I, I love to be around them. ... No, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
"I would think that the automatic response, if someone asks you if you're a criminal, a pedophile, a child molester, or anything along those lines, would be: 'You're crazy. No. Are you nuts?'" McGettigan said.
The jury, which includes nine people with ties to Penn State, had begun deliberating when Matt Sandusky's attorneys issued a statement alleging that Sandusky abused one of his five adopted sons.
"During the trial, 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," Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici said in the statement. "At Matt's request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators.
"This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment."
Karl Rominger, one of Jerry Sandusky's lawyers, declined comment. Matt Sandusky's lawyers and prosecutors didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Matt Sandusky went to live with Sandusky and his wife as a foster child and was adopted by them as an adult.
Shortly after Jerry Sandusky's arrest, Matt Sandusky's ex-wife went to court to keep her former father-in-law away from their three young children. Jill Jones successfully obtained a restraining order forbidding the children from sleeping over at their grandparents' home.
Around the same time, details emerged that Matt Sandusky had attempted suicide just four months after first going to live with the couple in 1995. He had come into the home through The Second Mile.
During testimony last week, an accuser known as Victim 4 said Matt Sandusky was living at the Sandusky home at the time he stayed there overnight and testified that Jerry Sandusky came into the shower with the two boys and "started pumping his hand full of soap." Matt Sandusky shut off the shower and left, appearing nervous, the witness said.
Earlier Thursday, the judge in the case threw out three of the 51 child sex abuse charges against Sandusky.
Cleland found that one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of aggravated indecent assault involving the accuser known as Victim 4 weren't supported by the evidence. Another charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving another boy was dismissed because Cleland said it duplicated another count.Meanwhile, a man with a civil lawsuit pending against Jerry Sandusky spoke out Thursday.
Travis Weaver is named as John Doe in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia in November, but his lawyer, Jeff Anderson, said Thursday he was ready to make his name public.
In an interview with NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" airing Thursday night, the 30-year-old Weaver said Sandusky abused him more than 100 times over four years starting in 1992, when he was 10. News guide to Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial
Lawyers for Jerry Sandusky rested their defense Wednesday, after just more than two days of calling witnesses on his behalf including his wife, Dottie to counter the graphic testimony from eight accusers last week. Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Thursday with the jury getting the case likely later in the day. Sandusky, 68, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, has pleaded not guilty to sex abuse charges.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES? • Sandusky is charged with 48 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span dating back to the mid-1990s. The charges are nine counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, nine counts of indecent assault, nine counts of unlawful contact with a minor, 10 counts of corruption of minors, 10 counts of endangering a child's welfare and one count of attempted indecent assault.
At the beginning of trial, Sandusky faced 52 counts.
One count of unlawful contact with a minor was dropped mid-trial because the statute didn't apply at the time of the alleged encounter.
The judge threw out three counts after testimony ended: two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of aggravated indecent assault. The judge said the first two charges did not bear out what testimony revealed and the third was the same as another count.
IF SANDUSKY IS CONVICTED, WHAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT COULD HE RECEIVE? • If the jury finds him guilty of all charges, the maximum possible sentence would add up to about 500 years.
WHO ARE HIS ACCUSERS? WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON? • The eight known accusers, who now range in age from 18 to 28, met Sandusky through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for helping children from troubled or single-parent families. Their testimony described how Sandusky bought them gifts, took them to football games and had them stay in a spare bedroom in his home for overnight sleepovers. Investigators say they don't know the identities of the two other alleged victims.
HOW HAS SANDUSKY EXPLAINED HIS ACTIONS? • Sandusky has acknowledged publicly that he "horsed around" with young boys, showered with them after workouts, hugged them and had other physical contact but said he never acted with sexual intent. He said in interviews after his arrest that he is not a pedophile but in retrospect realizes that he should not have showered with the boys.
WHAT COULD BE EXPECTED FROM THE DEFENSE TEAM? • In his opening statement to the jury, defense attorney Joseph Amendola said the accusers' allegations were flimsy and suggested that some of them have a financial stake in the outcome because they want to sue Sandusky and others. During cross-examination, Amendola also tried to undermine the credibility of the young men, as well as former football team assistant Mike McQueary, who testified seeing Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy in 2001.
Amendola also suggested some of his client's interactions with boys are not indicative of pedophilia but of histrionic personality disorder, a condition in which someone behaves in a dramatic fashion to get attention. Sandusky did not testify in his own defense, but his wife, Dottie, did the take stand in support of her husband.
WHY IS THERE NO LIVE-TWEETING OR VIDEO COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL? • Judge John Cleland, who was brought in from a county 80 miles away to preside over the proceedings, barred reporters from sending any electronic transmission from inside the courtroom or a nearby media center where dozens of reporters are watching the proceedings. The restriction is not unusual in Pennsylvania courtrooms.
Also, Pennsylvania Supreme Court regulations prohibit all types of cameras and broadcasting equipment in courtrooms during criminal proceedings. The rules give judges in the state's appellate courts discretion to allow cameras, but only in nonjury, civil proceedings.