Sandusky Prosecutor Cites 'Overwhelming Evidence' in Closing
Thursday, June 21, 2012
June 21 (Bloomberg) -- A prosecutor cited "overwhelming evidence" against Jerry Sandusky, the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach charged with molesting young boys, while the defense questioned the motives of his accusers.
Both sides presented closing arguments today in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where Sandusky, 68, has been on trial since June 11, charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. The former coach, who has denied the allegations, rested his defense yesterday without taking the witness stand.
Prosecutors say Sandusky used the charity he founded in 1977, the Second Mile, to recruit victims, "grooming" them with gifts, trips to football games and money, and luring them into university athletic shower rooms, hotels and his house. Some of his accusers took the witness stand to recount what Sandusky allegedly did to them as children.
"When there's overwhelming evidence, the defendant does a number of things: He admits what he must, he denies what he can, calls everyone a liar, makes counter-charges," the prosecutor, Joseph McGettigan, told the jury. "You always have to accuse the victims, you always have to allege a conspiracy, and that's what you saw here."
Sandusky faces 47 counts related to the alleged assaults, including claims that he engaged in involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with children under 16. Each of those counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Judge John Cleland today threw out four counts.
"All of these alleged charges only go back to the 1990s. So out of the blue, after all these years, when Mr. Sandusky is in his mid-50s, he decides to become a pedophile?" Joseph Amendola, the lead defense lawyer, asked the jury. "Does that make sense to anybody?"
During most of a week of defense testimony, Amendola presented witnesses who attested to his client's good character. Sandusky's wife, Dottie, testified June 19 that she never had any indication of the misconduct attributed to her husband.
The prosecutor displayed pictures of the alleged victims.
"I don't want to tug on your heartstrings," McGettigan said. "I want to remind you of the substance of what this is about."