Both sides have given their opening statements in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky at a Centre County Court House, in Bellefonte, Pa.
The lead prosecutor stressed to jurors that the institutions involved in this case are not on trial – only Sandusky, who he repeatedly referred to as a “predatory pedophile.”
The photos of eight alleged victims of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky were projected onto a screen in front of the jury and the prosecution identified each expected witness by first name, and detailed the circumstances of their alleged abuse by the former Penn State defensive coordinator.
Also projected on a wall opposite jurors was a schematic meant to remind the jury why alleged abuse victims may have kept abuse a secret for years. The screen read: humiliation, shame, and fear equals silence.
The lead prosecutor said investigations into Sandusky’s conduct with children have been opened several times before.
Sandusky’s defense said one key witness for the prosecution made assumptions about Sandusky’s alleged misconduct in a locker room shower with a boy.
He said Sandusky’s habit of showering with boys after workouts was innocent, and acceptable to anyone familiar with athletic programs.
“Cute kids,” said the defense lawyer at one point, referring to photos shown earlier. “Why would they lie?” The attorney suggested Sandusky’s accusers have a financial interest in the case.
He pointed out that the majority of them have their own civil attorneys. And he said the fact that earlier investigations have not resulted in charges filed only lends support to Sandusky’s innocence.
The first witness, for the prosecution, will be called to testify Monday afternoon.