Judge: Prosecutors could wrap Sandusky sex abuse case soon
Bellefonte, Pa. • Two more accusers took the stand at Jerry Sandusky's sex-abuse trial Thursday, one of whom said the former Penn State assistant football coach called himself the "tickle monster" before embracing him in a shower and another who said he was distraught that the two lost touch.
The second man, now 25, said he loved Sandusky and that he viewed him as a father figure, but that he became angry with Sandusky because he never reached out to him after the witness was sent out of the area to live in a group home.
"He just forgot about me, like I was nothing," said the man known in court documents as Victim 3. "I would pray he would call me and maybe find a way to get me out of there ... but it never happened."
The two alleged victims who testified Thursday brought to seven the number of accusers to take the stand over the trial's first four days. Jurors also heard about two other alleged victims who have not been located by investigators.
Judge John Cleland said prosecutors might finish presenting their case Thursday.
The ex-coach faces 52 criminal counts involving alleged assaults of 10 boys over a 15-year span. He denies the charges, which brought disgrace to Penn State and led to the ouster of both the school's president and Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno.
Sandusky's attorney questioned both accusers Thursday about connections they had with other alleged victims. The defense has claimed that the accusers have financial motives, but they've all denied that.
One of the men, now a member of the Army National Guard, described frequent sleepovers at Sandusky's home in 1998 and 1999 that included the ex-coach rubbing his body and touching his penis. He also said Sandusky gave him a bear hug in the shower.
The man said he lived with his mother at the time but did not get along with her. He didn't know where his father was.
He testified that he felt uncomfortable when Sandusky touched his genitals in bed, and that he would roll over to prevent anything else from happening, but that he didn't tell Sandusky not to get into bed with him.
"He made me feel like I was a part of something, like a family," the man said. "He gave me things that I hadn't had before." He said he loved Sandusky, and that Sandusky treated him like he was part of an extended family who was "unconditionally loved."
Earlier Thursday, the other accuser testified that Sandusky called himself the "tickle monster" and embraced the then-11-year-old boy in a Penn State shower in 1998, an encounter that prompted an investigation but ultimately ended without any charges being filed.
The then-district attorney's decision not to bring charges was a mistake, an investigator testified.
The now-25-year-old alleged victim, known in court records as Victim 6, told jurors Sandusky embraced him in a locker room shower, lathered up his back and shoulders then lifted him chest-to-chest to a shower head to rinse out his hair.
The man said the shared shower happened after a brief workout at a campus gym even though he hadn't broken a sweat. His mother went to authorities when she saw her son come home with wet hair, although the inquiry spawned by her report didn't lead to any charges.
The witness, who described himself as a big football fan, testified that Sandusky had given him a tour of the Penn State football locker room and training facilities, and had him try on some equipment of players including star running back Curtis Enis.
One of the investigators who interviewed the boy and Sandusky at the time, Ronald Schreffler, told the court he thought charges were warranted but that the district attorney, Ray Gricar, disagreed.
Gricar cannot explain his decision he disappeared in 2005 and was later declared legally dead.
On cross-examination, the man testified that in recent years he and Sandusky exchanged text messages, sent notes for holidays and special occasions and last summer met for lunch. He also told the court that Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, had supported a mission trip he took to Mexico.
When asked why he had decided to testify against Sandusky, the witness said he had been approached by investigators and asked to think more about the 1998 encounter.
"As I started to go over it in my mind I quickly realized, my perception changed thinking about it as an adult as opposed to an 11-year-old," he said. "That was inappropriate, what happened to me."
Asked if he was looking for financial benefit from coming forward, the man replied, "Zero."
Schreffler, a former Penn State police officer who now works for the Department of Homeland Security, said he overheard Sandusky tell to alleged victim's mother that he wished he was dead as investigators listened in on a conversation set up for the woman to confront him.
During his cross-examination, Sandusky's attorney presented a transcript of an interview with the accuser in which the boy said there was no sexual contact in the shower.
Gricar was last seen April 15, 2005, about nine months before he was to retire as district attorney, after telling his girlfriend he was going for a drive. His car later was found abandoned at an antiques market.
Gricar's laptop was found three months later in the nearby Susquehanna River, without its hard drive, which was found separately and upriver that October. Investigators later said Gricar had done searches on another computer about how to destroy a hard drive, without explaining why that might be relevant to his disappearance.
Since the trial began Monday, jurors have heard from young men who claim Sandusky had inappropriate contact with them, sometimes at his State College home or in the showers of a campus locker room.