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Sandusky jury deliberates as new abuse alleged

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2012 3:07 PM
(Note: explicit sexual content)By Ian SimpsonBELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - The jury in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky began deliberations on Thursday but without hearing the shocking accusation from Sandusky's adopted son that he, too, was abused by the former Penn State assistant football coach.Prosecutors told the jury that Sandusky was a "serial predatory pedophile" who targeted young boys yearning for a father figure, while the defense said he had been ruined by overzealous prosecutors and false accusers hoping for a payday from civil lawsuits.As jurors started their deliberation, a news report surfaced that Matt Sandusky, 33, had met with prosecutors this week to tell them he had been molested by his adoptive father.Matt Sandusky, who was adopted as an adult after going to live with the family as a foster child, had denied until now he was ever sexually abused, according to The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the case.Matt Sandusky's lawyer, Andrew Shubin, told the paper his client met with prosecutors to tell his story this week, after the prosecution had already rested its case."Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse," Shubin said in a statement to the media co-signed by lawyer Justine Andronici. "This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt."Earlier at Centre County Court, lawyers for both sides made their final arguments to the jury of seven women and five men deciding the fate of Sandusky, 68, who is accused of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, sometimes in Pennsylvania State University locker rooms."I feel as if I have pieces of 10 souls in my pockets," prosecutor Joseph McGettigan told jurors before walking across the courtroom to stand next to a seated Sandusky, who appeared startled as he looked over his shoulder."Give them back their souls," McGettigan told the jury.DEFENSE'S CLOSING ARGUMENTSJurors, who are sequestered during deliberations, earlier heard from Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola, who said in closing arguments the onetime football coach had been ruined by overzealous prosecutors and false allegations by accusers hoping for a big payday down the road from civil lawsuits.When the criminal charges were filed late last year, "Mr. Sandusky's world came to an end, his wife's world came to the end, his children's world came to an end," Amendola said."I submit to you they were going to get him come hell or high water, even if they had to coach witnesses," Amendola said.A long line of spectators waited outside the courthouse on Thursday to get a seat for final arguments in an explosive case that has put renewed attention on the issue of child sex abuse in the United States and prompted the firing in November of Penn State President Graham Spanier and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno.Paterno, who won more games than any major college football coach, died of lung cancer in January.The session began with Judge John Cleland giving final instructions to jurors ahead of the deliberations, telling them a sex abuse conviction must be based on more than whether a child "feels uncomfortable.""The critical issue is not that the child feels uncomfortable ... the issue is not what the child felt, the issue is what the adult intended," he said.SANDUSKY DOES NOT TESTIFYThe defense wrapped up its case on Wednesday after little more than two days of testimony without calling Sandusky to the stand. He faces more than 500 years in prison if convicted on all counts.One of the spectators, Kay Reyes, a retired Latin teacher, said she had driven from her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her daughter, a lawyer, to attend the trial."If this didn't involve famous people, this would be a slam dunk for the prosecution," said Reyes, who was carrying a sign that said "The Victims = True American Heroes."The accusers "are the ones who throughout all this have shown bravery, valor and dignity," Reyes said.Eight accusers, now aged 18 to 28, testified for the prosecution last week. They described in often graphic detail about meeting Sandusky as boys through his charity, the Second Mile, and then being abused by groping, shared showers, and oral and anal sex.McGettigan, the prosecutor, rejected Amendola's claims the alleged victims were seeking a big payday and conspiring with prosecutors and police investigators.He said such a conspiracy would have had to start in 1994, the date of the first alleged abuse, and continued for years. A narrative of abuse that long would have included such figures as Mike McQueary, the Penn State assistant football coach who testified he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a locker room shower in 2001."There are only two possible constructs - either we are conspirators and corrupt or we are hoodwinked," McGettigan said of the prosecution team.Earlier on Thursday, Cleland threw out three charges against Sandusky. The former coach still faces 48 criminal charges related to child sex abuse allegations.Cleland said the testimony of one of the victims, Number 4, failed to support two of the counts, while a third count was duplicative.(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara)