Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Associated Press
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — As jurors deliberated for more than eight hours on charges Jerry Sandusky sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year period, new accusations of abuse were leveled against the former Penn State assistant coach by a pair of new accusers, including his adopted son.
Just a few hours into deliberations, Matt Sandusky — one of Sandusky's six adopted children — came forward for the first time to say in a statement that his father had abused him. The statement didn't detail the abuse allegation.
Meanwhile, Travis Weaver, a man suing Jerry Sandusky, told NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times over four years starting in 1992, when he was 10.
Weaver, 30, was named as John Doe in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia in November.
Sequestered during deliberations, the jury was under orders from Judge John Cleland to ponder only the case placed in their hands Thursday afternoon after hearing starkly different portrayals of the case's facts during closing remarks. Deliberations were scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. today.
Prosecutors have called the 68-year-old Sandusky "a serial, predatory pedophile" whose charity for at-risk youth, The Second Mile, was his source of likely victims who would be dazzled by gifts, grateful for his attention and — perhaps most importantly — unlikely to speak up. His arrest in November ignited a scandal at Penn State that led to the dismissals of beloved Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the university's president.
"He molested and abused and hurt these children horribly," Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III told the jury in closing statements Thursday. "He knows he did it and you know he did it.
"Find him guilty of everything."
The defense portrayed Sandusky as the hapless victim of a conspiracy to convict him of heinous crimes. They explain the 48 charges against him as the result of an investigatory team out for blood and accusers who willingly played along in hopes of securing a big payday.
"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," defense attorney Joe Amendola said in his animated and impassioned closing remarks.
The elder Sandusky, who faces life in prison if convicted of the allegations, smiled and chuckled to himself as prosecutors wrapped up closing remarks. His wife, Dottie, leaned forward in her seat with a concerned look, resting her chin in her hands.
Some of the eight accusers who testified described showering with the longtime assistant; others spoke of lengthy relationships featuring lavish gifts and out-of-state trips. One testified he felt at times like Sandusky's son, at others his "girlfriend."
A second accuser — a foster child at the time authorities say he was abused — said Sandusky threatened he would never see his biological family again if he told anyone he was forced to perform sex acts but later took it back and claimed to love him.
One accuser testified to receiving what he called "creepy love letters" from Sandusky. "I know that I have made my share of mistakes," read one handwritten note. "However, I hope that I will be able to say that I cared. There has been love in my heart."
The defense said the longwinded letters were simply the manifestation of a personality disorder characterized by excessive emotionality and attention seeking.
(Continued on page 2)