(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) — “It is not necessarily a crime for an adult to touch a child,” Judge John Cleland told the jury on Thursday before they began to deliberate the fate Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach charged with molesting 10 boys.
Cleland charged the jury ahead of closing arguments, which are expected to be wrapped up by 12:30 p.m. The jury will then begin its deliberations.
The judge also dismissed three charges, lowering the number of counts against Sandusky to 48.
“It is not necessarily a crime for a man to take a shower with a boy, wash a boy’s hair, lather his shoulders, or engage in back rubbing or back cracking,” he said. “What makes this kind of ambiguous contact a crime is the intent with which it is done. You must determine it is an act of lust.”
Cleland also notified the jury that four counts against Sandusky have been dropped since the beginning of the case. One count had been dismissed during the trial. On Thursday morning, he ruled out two charges of sexual intercourse stemming from the account of alleged Victim 4 because there was no evidence that penetration had occurred. He also dropped a count because it was repetitive.
On the counts that remain, Cleland instructed the jury that for the crimes allegedly committed against Victim 8, whose alleged sexual abuse was witnessed by a Penn State janitor, the hearsay testimony presented about the incident was not enough to find Sandusky guilty.
The janitor who saw the alleged assault now has dementia and was unable to testify. Ronald Petrosky, a coworker of the janitor, was the only person to testify about Victim 8, but he didn’t witness a sexual assault. And the boy who was the alleged victim has never been found or identified by prosecutors.
“The statement of Mr. Petrosky is not sufficient to convict him of a crime. There must other sufficient evidence besides the hearsay statement,” the judge said.
Cleland went over each of the crimes charged against Sandusky, explaining what criteria must be met for Sandusky to be found guilty on any of them.
The jury will hear closing arguments from defense attorney Joseph Amendola and prosecutor Joseph McGettigan before beginning deliberations.
If Sandusky, 68, is found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
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