Sandusky faces start of child sex abuse trial
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (AP) — The child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky began Monday with the faces of the alleged victims, as prosecutors showed photos of accusers to the jury and made sometimes graphic opening statements.
The 68-year-old Sandusky is charged with 52 criminal counts alleging he sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year span, including in the team’s showers. He has denied the allegations in a case that has shaken one of the most storied U.S. sports programs.
Many of the alleged victims are expected to testify for the prosecution.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III read aloud the allegations Monday, at one point saying Sandusky put his hand down one boy’s shirt and down his pants.
McGettigan said prosecutors will show that Sandusky was “a serial predator” whose activities took place “not over days, not over weeks, not even over months, but in some cases over years.”
He said prosecutors will show a pattern in which Sandusky groomed boys and then abused them.
“Each of these victims met the defendant through The Second Mile,” McGettigan said, referring to the charity to which Sandusky had founded for at-risk children.
Sandusky didn’t respond to questions on his arrival at the courthouse.
A pair of grand jury reports allege Sandusky sexually abused young boys he met through his charity, which he established in 1977. Sandusky allegedly used his connection to the football program to groom boys for sexual contact at his home or in the team facilities.
Sandusky’s lawyers and state prosecutors have been under a gag order for months, so their outline of the case to jurors Monday should reveal new details about an investigation that has taken several years.
Slade McLaughlin, the attorney for the teen identified in the grand jury report as Victim 1, said he expects his client to testify Monday or Tuesday.
“He’s in good spirits, very calm, very relaxed,” McLaughlin said.
The trial may not be the last word in the case. The state attorney general’s office has repeatedly indicated it has an “active and ongoing” related investigation, which suggests additional criminal charges could result.
There is also a federal investigation. Penn State said that in February it had been issued a wide-ranging subpoena from the U.S. attorney’s office in Harrisburg, seeking computer records and other information.
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