BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania — US defense lawyers on Wednesday rested their case in the pedophilia trial of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, without calling him to the stand.
Closing arguments are now expected in the trial of Sandusky, 68, once a well-respected assistant coach at Penn State, one of the nation’s top college American football teams.
Sandusky, who stands accused of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period, allegedly recruited his young victims under the guise of a program he ran for abused and neglected youth.
Prosecutors have dubbed Sandusky a “systematic serial predator” and a parade of adult witnesses came forward to allege that as teenagers they were sexually abused and raped by him.
All said they had met Sandusky through his charity for disadvantaged youth The Second Mile and testified that they had seen him as a father figure.
But Sandusky’s defense team has sought to cast doubt on the credibility of the alleged victims, implying at times they were fabricating stories hoping for a large payout from a lawsuit. They also alleged the the witnesses had been coached by police.
Sandusky’s wife, Dorothy took the stand Tuesday, describing one victim as “conniving.”
Of another victim, she said: “He knew what to say, when to say it.”
Throughout the case, there had been speculation over whether Sandusky would take the stand, but the defense finally rested without his testimony.
The case has shocked the United States, where many are obsessed by college sports and hold up their American football team’s coaches as demigods.
Speaking publicly for the first time of his ordeal, one of the alleged victims, now in his 20s, last week told how Sandusky would initiate sexual activity in a locked shower room reserved for Penn State coaches by starting a soap battle.
“A lot of this started as playfighting, slapping. Once I’d pull away, you could tell that he could get angry,” said the man.
But Sandusky’s defense attorney Joseph Amendola told the court his client’s accusers made up their allegations for a variety of reasons including troubled lives, money and because they mistook friendly overtures for sexual ones.
The scandal led to the firing of Penn State’s longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, a national icon whose fall from grace came just a few weeks before his unexpected death from lung cancer in January at the age of 85.
The legendary coach was fired in November for failing to notify authorities when he was told Sandusky had been seen molesting a boy in the shower.
Two university officials, former athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz are also charged with lying to the grand jury regarding what they knew about sexual abuse allegations and failing to report them.
They are to be tried separately. Prosecutors are also said to be eyeing charges against the university president Graham Spanier for failing to report the incidents.