NBC10Philadelphia.com - Rosemary Connors
Dottie Sandusky told the court Tuesday that she never witnessed any inappropriate behavior between her husband and the alleged victims.
Jerry Sandusky's wife, Dottie, took the stand on Tuesday afternoon. She answered questions about parenthood with Jerry as well as sleepovers -- what she did and did not remember.
NBC10's Rosemary Connors was in the courtroom for the 45 minutes or so that Dottie Sandusky was on the stand. According to Connors, Dottie Sandusky said when children stayed over they had a choice of where to sleep -- upstairs or downstairs. Alleged Victim No. 9 testified last Thursday that he screamed for help from the basement and that he thought it might have been soundproofed. Dottie Sandusky said she never heard anyone cry for help from their basement, which she said was not soundproof.
Dottie Sandusky said she and Jerry slept in the same room and in the same bed and that she doesn't go to bed until Jerry goes to bed. She testified that she remembers most of the men who told jurors last week that her husband sexually abused them. But Dottie said Jerry never had inappropriate contact with them as boys.
Jerry Sandusky is charged with 51 criminal counts related to 10 alleged victims over a 15-year period of time. He's accused of engaging in illegal sexual contact ranging from fondling to forced oral and anal sex.
Dottie talked about their marriage of nearly 46 years. She said on the stand that she and Jerry tried to have biological children, but didn't get pregnant so they decided to adopt. In all, they adopted six children. Sandusky seemed to be smiling while his wife talked about their background, according to Connors.
Dottie Sandusky said Jerry always came home for dinner, but was busy and not around a lot during football season. She talked about her nickname being "Sarge" and that she was strict at times with their children. The Sanduskys now have 12 grandchildren, one step-grandchild and another grandchild due later this year. Dottie said they try to spend a lot of time with their grandchildren.
Dottie testified that before Jerry launched his Second Mile charity, they opened their home to foster children. She said kids stayed over their house a few times a month, both while her husband was coaching and after he retired.
By taking the stand, Dottie Sandusky has presumably waived any right not to testify against her husband, one prominent Philadelphia defense lawyer said.
Spouses can assert spousal immunity to avoid testifying about anything said in confidence to them by their spouse. But Dottie Sandusky has presumably agreed to waive that privilege since she took the stand, lawyer Brian McMonagle said.
"They're doing that to show he's got a wife, he's normal, kids came over and slept there and there's never a problem," McMonagle said. "They want to paint him as normal as they can. I'm sure she's probably going to be an effective witness in that regard."
The biggest question at the beginning of the day was still unanswered at day's end: Will Jerry Sandusky take the stand?
When Sandusky's lead attorney, Joe Amendola came to court, the answer he gave to that question was "stay tuned."
One of Philadelphia's top trial lawyers, Bob Mongeluzzi, told NBC10 today that desperation would be the motive behind such a decision. "It's a last-ditch attempt...you know you're gonna lose. . .Sandusky would get slaughtered on the stand."