(NEW YORK) — The child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky is in the hands of the jury after watching the prosecutor stand behind the former Penn State football coach, accusing him of taking “pieces of 10 souls,” and asking the jurors to “find him guilty of everything.”
“That’s the person who did it, right there. It’s not about conspiracies, fame or fortune or money,” prosecutor Joseph McGettigan said. “I ask you not to forget that they were boys, and what Mr. Sandusky did to them.”
The jury of seven women and five men were dispatched by Judge John Cleland to begin deliberating Sandusky’s guilt or innocence after the closings. If convicted of 48 counts of sex abuse against 10 boys, the former Penn State football coach, who is 68, could be sentenced to life in prison.
The jury will be sequestered during their deliberations and is expected to work through the weekend if they have not returned a verdict by Friday.
Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, and adopted daughter Kara were in the court for him, with Kara crying towards the end of defense attorney Joseph Amendola’s closing argument. Four of his alleged victims were also in the courtroom to watch the trial’s finale.
McGettigan, speaking softly directly in front of the jury box, said that Sandusky fit the profile of a predatory pedophile, and used the alleged victims to illustrate the different steps a pedophile takes as he progresses toward abuse.
“The first time he showered with (Victim 5), he hugs him, picks him up, squeezes him. It’s step one in predatory pedophile behavior,” he said. He described step two and three as increased sexual touching with the men known as Victim 6 and Victim 7.
“After that predatory behavior became full blown, anal sex, with (Victim 1), (Victim 4), (Victim 8). He thinks these are relationships,” the prosecutor said.
McGettigan’s closing argument followed Amendola’s final statement to the jury, in which the defense lawyer alleged that investigators were out to get Sandusky and were ruining his reputation and life.
“I think there’s a conspiracy alleged,” McGettigan said in response to Amendola’s defense. “It began with two troopers and expanded from there, and includes any number of people. But the great thing about conspiracies is that they bear no weight. The magic construction collapses under its own weight, and that’s kind of what you see here.”
McGettigan went quickly over his points to the jury, saying that they should keep in mind that if the accusers seemed to become agitated on the stand it was because they were nervous, and that when they were pressed by Amendola about dates or specifics they often came back with even more detail about the alleged abuse.
“(Victim 1)’s difficulty in speaking was because of the tremendous response he had to his recollection of abuse. You saw someone who just wants it to be done. You have to have some compassion for people in that,” he said.
McGettigan put a slide on a projector that he had showed during his opening statements, which said that “humiliation, shame, fear = silence.”
“That’s why we have been delayed, why justice has been delayed,” McGettigan said, pointing to the slide. “But it is up to you to see that justice is not denied.”
McGettigan ended with an emotional appeal to the jury, saying, “I have pieces of 10 souls in my pocket…child lives ravaged by this pedophile.”
He walked across the courtroom to Sandusky, who turned and looked up at McGettigan behind his chair.
“It’s beyond my capacity. I can’t give that back, and neither can you. It can’t be done,” McGettigan said. “He molested and abused. Find him guilty of everything.”
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