1 Sandusky Charge Dropped

Defense starts presenting its case Monday, it's still unclear if Sandusky himself will testify

Prosecutors in Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial dropped one of the 52 counts against him Monday because the statute he was charged under did not apply at the time of the alleged illegal contact.

The charge relates to an accuser identified by prosecutors as Victim 7.

During testimony, the man said the offense happened in 1995 or 1996, but the unlawful contact with a minor statute didn't apply until 1997, prosecutors told the judge overseeing the case. Three charges related to the man are still in effect, including attempted indecent assault.

It remains unclear if the former Penn State assistant football coach himself would testify.

Sandusky, 68, now is charged with 51 counts accusing him of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year span. He denies any wrongdoing. His November arrest led to the ouster of Penn State's president and the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno.

The defense on Monday asked the judge to dismiss a number of charges, but all those requests were denied.

The identities of two of the alleged victims have never been learned by investigators, and their cases are built on witness testimony, most notably the account by former assistant Mike McQueary that he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a campus shower.

The defense sought to have an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge related to that alleged victim thrown out, saying McQueary couldn't testify that he saw intercourse, but the judge denied that request.

Defense attorney Karl Rominger also challenged the judge's decision to allow testimony related to the other unknown boy. For those counts, prosecutors called a janitor who recounted a co-worker's report he'd seen Sandusky sexually assaulting a child. The co-worker was unable to testify himself because he suffers from dementia.

The defense also said one of the alleged victims said he had blacked out and therefore his testimony couldn't support some of the counts. Prosecutors countered that he remembered sufficient details to meet the standard for those charges.

Prosecutors presented 20 witnesses in the first four days of testimony last week, including eight accusers who said Sandusky abused them.

The gripping, sometimes graphic testimony 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 already gotten approval to argue that letters and other acts of alleged grooming by Sandusky are evidence of a personality disorder.

Sandusky's lawyer suggested in opening statements that Sandusky may take the stand, although that is a risk that defense attorneys usually avoid.

Jurors have already heard Sandusky deny the allegations, in the form of an audio recording of a stilted television interview with NBC's Bob Costas 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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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