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Sandusky wife defends his contact with young boys

Associated Press Modified: June 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm •  Published: June 19, 2012
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BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky's wife smiled as she took the witness stand on Tuesday to defend him against charges he sexually abused boys in their home and on Penn State's campus, and jurors also heard police investigators contradict themselves and psychological experts duel over evaluations of the defendant.

Dottie Sandusky said she remembered most but not all of the eight men who have accused her husband of abusing them as children. She told jurors she did not see him have inappropriate contact with them over the years they visited the couple's home or traveled with them.

In a calm voice during an hour of testimony, she described her 45-year marriage to the former Penn State assistant football coach, but lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan appeared to stump her when he asked why the men might lie in making the accusations.

"I don't know what it would be for," she said, with a slight shake of her head.

A large portion of the day's testimony, which included 11 more character witnesses, consisted of a defense psychologist, Elliott Atkins, who told jurors he believes Jerry Sandusky has a personality disorder that might explain letters addressed to one of his accusers, while prosecutors countered with psychiatrist Dr. John Sebastian O'Brien II, who said that was not the case but that he might suffer from some other problem, possibly psychosexual disorder with a focus on pre-adolescents.

Judge John Cleland told jurors the case remains on track for defense testimony to likely conclude Wednesday morning, closing statements Thursday morning and deliberations to begin that afternoon. It remained unclear whether Sandusky will take the stand in his own defense.

Sandusky is charged with dozens of criminal counts related to 10 boys over a 15-year span. He's accused of engaging in illegal sexual contact ranging from fondling to forced oral and anal sex, and he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

Dottie Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and in December issuing a statement that proclaimed his innocence and said that accusers were making up their stories.

Part of the defense strategy is clearly to show that the details of accusers' stories are wrong, but Dottie Sandusky was unable to say with much precision how often certain boys would stay in the couple's State College home. She said one of the boys, called Victim 10 in court records, she did not know at all.

She described Victim 1 as "clingy," Victim 9 as "a charmer" and Victim 4 as "very conniving, and he wanted his way and he didn't listen a whole lot."

Victim 9 testified last week that he was attacked by Jerry Sandusky in the basement of the ex-coach's home and cried out for help when Dottie Sandusky was upstairs. She, however, said the basement was not soundproof and she would have been able to hear shouting if she was upstairs.

Dottie Sandusky, who isn't charged in the case, also said the visiting boys were free to sleep upstairs if they wanted to. The accusers have said Jerry Sandusky directed them to the basement, where they allege he sometimes molested them.

Police handling of an initial interview with Victim 4 may have helped the defense. Now-retired Cpl. Joseph A. Leiter testified police "never told any of them what anyone else had ever told us" before jurors were played a tape of that interview, in which Leiter told Victim 4 that they had been told by others that oral sex and a rape had occurred. Leiter also said that "in some of our interviews ... we did" tell accusers that others had come forward.

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