The man, then a baby-faced blond teenager but now identified as Victim No. 4 in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, took the stand Monday in Centre County district court and described to the jury in graphic detail the disturbing relationship that developed between him and the disgraced Penn State football coach.
The man, now 28, said he and Sandusky engaged in “soap battles” in campus showers and in hotel rooms and that the former Penn State defensive coordinator touched him on his leg “like I was his girlfriend” during car road trips.
One particular incident he described, in a Texas hotel room before a bowl game, was particularly horrific. Sandusky, the man testified, approached him in the bathroom and placed his hands on the teenager’s shoulders and pushed down, instructing the boy to “go down there” and perform oral sex, threatening to send the boy home if he didn’t comply. Only the unexpected entrance of Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, prevented the incident from escalating, the man said.
The start of the trial included a defense bombshell during opening statements, when Sandusky’s lawyer, Joseph Amendola, said that his client would testify and “tell the jurors in his own words” what happened between Sandusky and his accusers. The 68-year-old Sandusky is accused of 52 counts of sexual abuse with 10 young boys over a 15-year period.
Victim No. 4 said he met Sandusky through the Second Mile charity (which Sandusky founded in 1977) in 1996 when the boy was 13 and was forced to have sex with Sandusky at “least 50 times” during a lewd, improper relationship that lasted four years.
“He would put his hand on my leg when we were in the car together, basically like I was his girlfriend,” Victim 4 said. “It freaked me out extremely badly. I pushed away but after a while, it would come right back. It drove me nuts.”
Deputy attorney general attorney James E. McGettigan III, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s lead prosecutor, painted the defendant (who wore an olive suit to court and sat emotionless during the proceedings) as a “predatory pedophile” who preyed on fatherless children. Victim No. 4 described “creepy love letters” Sandusky wrote to him on a Penn State letterhead.
One letter began, “I know I have made a lot of mistakes. However, I hope that I will be able to say I care. There is love in my heart.”
Amendola tried to discredit Victim 4, suggesting Sandusky only cared about him succeeding and questioned why he never shunned Sandusky earlier or went to his grandmother or authorities to report the abuse. Amendola also said six of the eight alleged victims who will testify have hired civil lawyers. “Money does funny things,” the lawyer said.
Victim No. 4 was not shaken on cross-examination by Amendola, and said he was too scared to report the abuse.
“When we would go to golf tournaments, he would treat me like I was his son. Other times, he would treat me like I was his girlfriend,” the man said, adding that Sandusky showered him with gifts such as drum sets, hockey gear, a watch from the Orange Bowl, access to Penn State players, sideline passes to home games and trips on the coaches’ plane to bowl games.
“No way, I was too scared to. . . the other things were nice. I didn’t want to lose that,” he said.
Amendola also pointed to a series of behavior contracts signed by both the witness and Sandusky. One such contract promised the witness money for post-high school education in exchange for participating in soccer, hockey and golf, as well getting grades no lower than a C and having no suspensions.
“Clearly this is a contract for me to be around him more often. There’s even a part in there for me to come over to exercise with him three times a week,” the man replied, shrugging his shoulders.
Mark Hamilton, a programming director for the Second Mile, told the jurors that Second Mile did not have any contracts that offerred pay to minors.
If Monday was a difficult day for the defense, it was an equally troubling day for Penn State — new evidence surfaced that could result in charges against former university president Graham Spanier, who, along with the late Hall of Fame PSU coach Joe Paterno, was ousted in November in the wake of the scandal.
NBC News reported there was a troubling 2001 email exchange between former vice president Gary Schultz, former athletic director Tim Curley and Spanier in which Spanier told Curley at one point it would be “humane” to Sandusky not to involve legal authorities in the 2001 investigation that stemmed from a report from graduate assistant Mike McQueary.
McQueary has testified that he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the showers on PSU’s campus.