Prosecution closes in Sandusky case; jury begins deliberations

June 21, 2012 6:54 am
  • Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the jury began deliberating his case. At right is Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau.
    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the jury began deliberating his case. At right is Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau.
  • Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse with his wife, Dorothy (left) for the closing arguments in his trial today.
    Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse with his wife, Dorothy (left) for the closing arguments in his trial today.
  • Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday after the defense rested on the seventh day of testimony.
    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday after the defense rested on the seventh day of testimony.
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In final legal instructions to the seven women and five men of the jury, Judge Cleland said "it is not necessarily a crime for an adult to touch a child" and that "poor judgment does not of and in itself rise to criminal conduct."

"It is obviously a crime for a man to have oral sex with a boy or have the boy perform oral sex on him," the judge said. "Other forms of physical contact are more problematic."

For instance, he said, it is "not necessarily" a crime to take a shower with a child, wash his hair or rub soap on his back or shoulders. What matters is the intent.

"A display of innocent affection is not a crime," he said.

Nor does it matter how the child felt, then or now, the judge said.

"The issue is what the defendant intended ... (if he acted) with the intention to satisfy his own sexual desire," Judge Cleland said.

A senior McKean County judge who was brought in to preside at the trial in Centre County court, Judge Cleland told the jury that the testimony of the accusers is sufficient, if they believe it, to sustain a guilty verdict without any corroborating evidence.

He told them they must consider each criminal count individually. With the withdrawal of three more counts today, the jury will deliberate 48 charges.

The withdrawn charges were two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one of aggravated indecent assault, all related to the accuser known as Victim 4. In an order amending the charges, the judge wrote that charges of anal and digital penetration were withdrawn because the witness testified that Mr. Sandusky "attempted" anal intercourse and digital penetration. Regarding the other withdrawn count, the judge wrote that Count 17 and 18 charge the defendant with the same conduct under the same statute, and therefore Count 18 was dismissed.

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com.
First Published 2012-06-26 15:35:57
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