POSTED: 06:13 a.m. HST, Jun 18, 2012
BELLEFONTE, Pa. >> Prosecutors in Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial rested their case today after calling the mother of one of his alleged victims, who told the jury she thought it was unusual her son's underwear was frequently missing from the laundry.
The woman also said the former Penn State assistant football coach contacted her son to be a character reference for him after the first round of charges were filed against him in November.
The woman said her son would claim he had thrown away his underwear because he had an accident. Last week, the teen said Sandusky forced him to have anal sex that made him bleed, but he'd "dealt with it."
"I always wondered why he never had any underwear in the laundry," she said. "There was never any underwear, any socks ... that was odd to me."
The woman was the last of 21 witnesses presented by prosecutors in five days of testimony.
Sandusky's attorneys immediately called their first witness, former Penn State assistant Dick Anderson, who had sat behind Sandusky during opening statements last week.
Also today, prosecutors withdrew one count against Sandusky, saying the statute he was charged under did not apply at the time of the alleged illegal contact.
That leaves 51 counts involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span. Sandusky, whose November arrest led to the ouster of Penn State's president and the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, has denied wrongdoing.
The gripping and sometimes graphic testimony by prosecution witnesses included details about gifts and trips to Penn State games that prosecutors sought to tie to escalating physical contact that started out as harmless affection and morphed into forced sex acts.
Defense attorneys have gotten approval to argue that letters and other acts of alleged grooming by Sandusky are evidence of a personality disorder.
Jurors have already heard Sandusky deny the abuse allegations, in the form of an audio recording of a stilted television interview Sandusky conducted shortly after his November arrest.
The defense has sought to show how the stories of accusers have changed over time, that they were prodded and coached by investigators and prosecutors, that some are motivated to lie by the hopes of a civil lawsuit jackpot, and to paint Sandusky's interactions with children as misunderstood and part of a lifelong effort to help, not victimize, them.
In a recent court filing, Sandusky's lawyers have asked the judge to allow them to put before jurors the out-of-court statements made by former Penn State President Graham Spanier and Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, two university administrators who are fighting criminal charges they lied to the Sandusky grand jury and did not properly report suspected child abuse. If permitted, that could help Sandusky undercut the credibility of a witness who says he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a yet-unidentified boy in a team shower more than a decade ago. The judge has not ruled on the request.
During cross-examination, Amendola pressed the accusers for dates and locations, details of their involvement with the kids' charity Sandusky founded, arrests or drug problems, contacts they had with Sandusky in the years since the alleged abuse ended and the terms of representation deals with civil lawyers. At least six said they told incorrect or incomplete stories in early contacts with police, and three testified that some of the details only came back to them in recent years.
During jury selection Sandusky's lawyers asked potential jurors about ties to a list of people who might be witnesses, including members of Paterno's family and Dottie Sandusky. It is unclear, however, which of them will take the stand.