Stunning new development in Sandusky trial


Stunning new development in Sandusky trial

From Comcast SportsNet
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- As jurors deliberated for more than eight hours on charges Jerry Sandusky sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year period, new accusations of abuse were leveled against the former Penn State assistant coach by a pair of new accusers, including his adopted son. Just a few hours into deliberations, Matt Sandusky -- one of Sandusky's six adopted children -- came forward for the first time to say in a statement that his father had abused him. The statement didn't detail the abuse allegation. Meanwhile, Travis Weaver, a man suing Jerry Sandusky, told NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times over four years starting in 1992, when he was 10. Weaver, 30, was named as John Doe in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia in November. Sequestered during deliberations, the jury was under orders from Judge John Cleland to ponder only the case placed in their hands Thursday afternoon after hearing starkly different portrayals of the case's facts during closing remarks. Deliberations were scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Friday. Prosecutors have called the 68-year-old Sandusky "a serial, predatory pedophile" whose charity for at-risk youth, The Second Mile, was his source of likely victims who would be dazzled by gifts, grateful for his attention and -- perhaps most importantly -- unlikely to speak up. His arrest in November ignited a scandal at Penn State that led to the dismissals of beloved Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the university's president. "He molested and abused and hurt these children horribly," Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III told the jury in closing statements Thursday. "He knows he did it and you know he did it. "Find him guilty of everything." The defense portrayed Sandusky as the hapless victim of a conspiracy to convict him of heinous crimes. They explain the 48 charges against him as the result of an investigatory team out for blood and accusers who willingly played along in hopes of securing a big payday. "They went after him, and I submit to you they were going to get him hell or high water, even if they had to coach witnesses," defense attorney Joe Amendola said in his animated and impassioned closing remarks. The elder Sandusky, who faces life in prison if convicted of the allegations, smiled and chuckled to himself as prosecutors wrapped up closing remarks. His wife, Dottie, leaned forward in her seat with a concerned look, resting her chin in her hands. Some of the eight accusers who testified described showering with the longtime assistant; others spoke of lengthy relationships featuring lavish gifts and out-of-state trips. One testified he felt at times like Sandusky's son, at others his "girlfriend." A second accuser -- a foster child at the time authorities say he was abused -- said Sandusky threatened he would never see his biological family again if he told anyone he was forced to perform sex acts but later took it back and claimed to love him. One accuser testified to receiving what he called "creepy love letters" from Sandusky. "I know that I have made my share of mistakes," read one handwritten note. "However, I hope that I will be able to say that I cared. There has been love in my heart." The defense said the longwinded letters were simply the manifestation of a personality disorder characterized by excessive emotionality and attention seeking. Two people who prosecutors say were sexually abused by Sandusky haven't been identified. The charges related to them come through other witnesses, including Mike McQueary, a former assistant coach who said he saw Sandusky having anal sex with a boy in a football facility shower. It was McQueary's testimony that touched off the massive scandal that rocked Penn State and forced a re-examination of the role of college administrators in reporting abuse allegations. After more than eight hours of deliberations Thursday night, the jury returned briefly to the courtroom to ask Cleland if they could rehear testimony from McQueary and Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a friend of the McQueary family who testified that McQueary gave him a different account of what he saw. Cleland told the jurors that McQueary's testimony was about two hours in length and Dranov's was about 20 minutes long and suggested they revisit the McQueary testimony Friday. Sandusky has denied the allegations, but did not testify in his own defense. Jurors are aware, however, of the denials he gave "Rock Center" just after his arrest. In it, Sandusky seemed to stumble at times and struggled to give direct answers to questions about his conduct. Asked if he was sexually attracted to boys, Sandusky told NBC's Bob Costas: "Sexually attracted, you know, I, I enjoy young people. I, I love to be around them. ... No, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys." McGettigan seized on that in closing arguments, saying: "I would think that the automatic response, if someone asks you if you're a criminal, a pedophile, a child molester, or anything along those lines, would be: You're crazy. No. Are you nuts?'" Prosecutors said Sandusky used gifts and the allure of Penn State's vaunted football program to attract and abuse vulnerable boys who came from troubled homes, often ones without a father figure in the house. As during his opening statements, McGettigan during his closing arguments put up smiling pictures of eight accusers when they were children; all testified at trial that Sandusky molested them. Standing behind Sandusky, McGettigan implored the jury for a conviction. "What you should do is come out and say to the defendant that he molested and abused and give them back their souls," McGettigan told jurors. "I give them to you. Acknowledge and give them justice." Amendola argued that Sandusky was targeted by investigators who coached accusers into making false claims about a generous man whose charity gave them much-needed love. "So out of the blue (after) all these years, when Jerry Sandusky is in his mid-50s, he decides to become a pedophile? Does that make sense to anybody?" Amendola asked rhetorically. Closing arguments came after seven days of testimony, some of it explicitly describing abuse suffered at the hands of Sandusky, including touching in showers, fondling and in some cases forced oral or anal sex. The jury, which includes nine people with ties to Penn State, had already begun deliberating when Matt Sandusky's attorneys issued a statement alleging that Sandusky abused one of his six adopted children. "During the trial, Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse," Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici said in the statement. "At Matt's request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators. "This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment." Karl Rominger, one of Jerry Sandusky's lawyers, declined to comment. Matt Sandusky went to live with Sandusky and his wife as a foster child and was adopted by them as an adult. Shortly after Jerry Sandusky's arrest, Matt Sandusky's ex-wife went to court to keep her former father-in-law away from their three young children. Jill Jones successfully obtained a restraining order forbidding the children from sleeping over at their grandparents' home. Around the same time, details emerged that Matt Sandusky had attempted suicide just four months after first going to live with the couple in 1995. He had come into the home through The Second Mile. Shortly after the suicide attempt, Sandusky's probation officer wrote, "The probation department has some serious concerns about the juvenile's safety and his current progress in placement with the Sandusky family," according to court records supplied to The Associated Press by his birth mother, Debra Long. Despite those concerns, probation and child welfare officials recommended continued placement with the Sandusky family, and the judge overseeing his case agreed. During testimony last week, an accuser known as Victim 4 said Matt Sandusky was living at the Sandusky home at the time he stayed there overnight and testified that Jerry Sandusky came into the shower with the two boys and "started pumping his hand full of soap." Matt Sandusky shut off the shower and left, appearing nervous, the witness said.

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Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired


Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired

On the newest banner that hangs from the rafters at Capital One Arena, a small microphone - embroidered with a white 33 - is subtly stitched into the bottom left corner. 

You'd barely notice it was there; Phil Chenier certainly didn't.

Chenier, who had his #45 jersey retired tonight during halftime of tonight's Wizards-Nuggets game, didn't even notice the mic, added to signify his three decades as a broadcaster with the team.

"I had no idea there was even a mic on it," Chenier said, laughing. "I'll have to go back out and look at it some more."

Despite the Wizards' 108-100 loss, the night was first and foremost a celebration of Chenier - the 5th player in franchise history to have his number rasied in the rafters. He joins Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, and Wes Unseld as the only players to achieve the honor so far.

"To be up there with the other 4 names means a lot – people I had the fortune of playing with," he added. "I remember my first day of practice and I had just watched this team play in the finals and now I’m plopped down with Wes Unfeld and Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson. It seemed like they accepted me from the get go."

Many from that 1978 Championship team were in attendance on Friday night, watching as one of their teammates cemented his professional legacy. For Chenier, that acceptance as an All-Time Bullets great is at the core of why he played the game.

"You know, when you play this game, you play for acceptance," he said. "You want to be the best, you want to be accepted. Having players and childhood friends – and of course, your family – here, you’re surrounded by so many people that meant a lot to you both before and now. It’s a really humbling feeling.”

It was hard to find someone in DC without something good to say about Chenier on Friday night. Even in the basement of Capital One Center, after the Wizards' fifth loss in seven games, head coach Scott Brooks took a moment out of his press conference to praise Chenier. 

"[Chenier] is a great ambassador and we all love him," Brooks said. "It's well deserved. It's going to be pretty cool seeing his jersey every time we step into this building."

Fans left the arena with a commemorative Phil Chenier cut out. Phil Chenier left the arena with his number retired. The experience was, according to the man himself, everything he thought it'd be. 

"You don’t know what the emotions are going to be..." he told media members after the ceremony."...Obviously it’s something I thought about, but it really was exciting to see the 45 up there and my name."

Then Chenier cracked a smile.

"I’m glad it’s over with."

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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Denver Nuggets 108-100 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another loss: It is becoming more and more clear that the Wizards need a shot in the arm, something to change the direction of where they are currently heading.

Whether that will come in the form of All-Star point guard John Wall returning from his months-long absence, an adjustment to their lineup or strategy, or something else entirely, the losses are piling up and at a tough time in the season.

With another loss on Friday night, their seventh in their last 11 games, the Wizards are now 40-32. They have plenty of room to still clinch a playoff berth, as their magic number stands at two, but they only have 10 games left to secure their all-important playoff seed.

Both the Pacers and Cavaliers, two teams just ahead of them in the playoff race, won on Friday.

The Wizards lost their second straight game and again offense was their problem. They scored 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers.

Big third quarter: The Denver Nuggets have emerged as a team on the rise, a young squad with burgeoning stars that could someday soon make some noise in the Western Conference. The reason is because they are very good on offense. Defense is a much different story.

That was not the case on Friday night, as the Wizards had all sorts of trouble scoring in three of their four quarters. They managed just 43 points by halftime, the fewest the Nuggets have allowed in a first half since Jan. 27.

The Wizards, though, did get cooking in the third quarter. They erupted for 33 points in the frame while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three. Markieff Morris, who finished with 17, had 11 points in the third quarter and Bradley Beal (24 points) hit three threes.

The Wizards also found a solution for Jamal Murray, one of the Nuggets' brightest young stars. He had 20 points at halftime, but went scoreless in nine minutes in the third quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (15 points) was among those who gave him trouble. Murry finished with 25.

The big third quarter reflected well on the Wizards' ability to make adjustments, but their 24-point fourth quarter flipped the script again.


Didn't force mistakes: The first time these teams squared off back in October, the Wizards forced the Nuggets into 23 turnovers. This game was a very different story. 

The Nuggets didn't commit their first turnover until midway through the second quarter and had only three by halftime. They had just 10 turnovers for the game.

Denver deserves some credit for limiting their mistakes, but all of it did not reflect well on the Wizards' defense. They didn't put enough pressure on the ball and failed to disrupt passing lanes like they usually do. It was uncharacteristic, as the Wizards entered the game 10th in average turnovers forced.

Not creating mistakes allowed the Nuggets to get way to many field goal attempts. Though they shot just 43.5 percent, Denver managed 108 points. And not getting turnovers offered the Wizards few opportunities for easy transition buckets.

Turnovers were one issue with the Wizards' defense. So was defending the perimeter, as the Nuggets shot 17-for-34 (50%) from long range. It is worth noting the Nuggets were without their leading scorer Gary Harris, a guy who is dangerous from long range.


Special night: Halftime offered a memorable moment in franchise history as legendary player and broadcast Phil Chenier had his No. 45 jersey retired by the team. His longtime broadcaster and friend Steve Buckhantz hosted the ceremony with about 20 friends and family members of Chenier's seated behind him. Buckhantz had opening comments, then majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke as everyone in the crowd stood and cheered.

Then, it was Chenier's time to talk. He thanked his former teammates, members of the organization and those close to him. He kept his composure until the very end when he brought up his mother, Peggy, who could not make the event. Chenier choked up and wiped away tears as he described what she has meant to him in his life.

It was a powerful moment and a great ceremony to honor a guy who has impacted the lives of many in the D.C. area. Now, his No. 45 will hang up in the rafters forever. That banner, by the way, features a picture of a microphone and the phrase '33 years,' signifying how long he was the color analyst for Bullets and Wizards games.


Up next: The Wizards do not have a game Saturday, though they are going to practice and Wall is expected to take a big step forward in his rehab. Their next game is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington when they host the Knicks. That will also be a special game, as the Wizards are set to honor the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship.

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