Jerry Sandusky Trial: Get Ready For Football

I kid not.

Get ready for the football “plays” of the former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky in his child sex-abuse trial that starts next Tuesday at the Centre County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Although Sandusky is facing 52 counts including allegations of child molestation involving 10 boys and looking at life in prison, he sees the trial as “the biggest game of his life”, according to his attorney Joe Mendola, as reported on

As a former prosecutor of child abuse cases, a trial involving allegations of the molestation of children is not a “game”.

According to Sandusky’s “game” plan, “the defense will aggressively challenge each of his accusers”, as reported in USATODAY.

Bad idea.

These are children not football players. Nothing upsets a jury more than when an attorney goes after a child in cross-examination. A “play” that will surely draw flags and penalties.

And, what does Sandusky think of the “other team” (the victims)?

According to his attorney, Sandusky believes, that “many of them (victims) are seeking to “destroy” the former coach as part of a strategy to win potentially lucrative lawsuits against university officials and the institution”.

Really, money?

Is that their best defensive “play”? That’s the wrong “playbook”. And, hardly a defense against ten young men and boys who will likely testify about “uncomfortable encounters”, sexual encounters. Just think, young men will take the stand and talk about unspeakable things, face down the stigma, the shame, self-blame and subject themselves to humiliation and a character assassination for the possibility of a payday. I think not. Rather, these are the reasons why so many sex abuse victims don’t come forward. But, when they do, I can assure you the jurors will listen. And, besides, it’s not one alleged victim, it’s 10 alleged victims, so far.

Seriously, this isn’t a football game. But, when we go to trial, we always confront the mindset of the defendant.

So who is Jerry Sandusky? A former defensive end football player. A successful and respected defensive line coach for “Linebacker U” with a top 10 defensive team for many years. He has a playbook, a defensive one.

For defensive end players, it’s all about tackling, sacking, screening and keeping the other guy from making any yards or any plays. Delay, hold, disrupt and close the gaps. Trust me, they will make these plays in the courtroom. They already have. A last-minute cancellation of the preliminary hearing to get the “other” players (the victims) off the field (from testifying). A last-minute delay, the request for trial postponement, just denied today by the appellate court. And, numerous “offensive plays” with press conferences and interviews, off the field, to tout their player, Jerry Sandusky. Fumbled badly, in my opinion.

OJ Simpson didn’t throw out his playbook when he stood trial and neither will Sandusky.

Simply my opinion, what say you?

(Update 6/25/2012: Sandusky convicted on 45 of 48 counts facing over 400 years (basically, a life sentence). Defense will appeal (success, very unlikely).

(Update 6/22/2012: Day 2 of jury deliberation (sequestered). Jury requested to re-hear McQueary and Dr. Dranov testimony (shower rape allegation). Just after jurors began deliberating yesterday, Matt Sandusky, now 33, disclosed that he had been molested by Sandusky, his adopted father. Defense argued victims coached by police, colluded with each other with hopes of cashing in on civil suits and claimed Sandusky has a “personality disorder”. Prosecution argued Sandusky is a predatory pedophile. (my opinion, Sandusky is a classic predatory pedophile with more victims likely to come forward.)

(Update 6/6/2012: Jury selected 7 women, 5 men (7 jurors with ties to Penn State) and 4 alternates. Opening statements begin on Monday.)

(Update 6/5/2012: Jury selection has begun. 12 jurors plus 4 alternates needed. Jury will not be sequestered (ie. kept separate from their families and the public). (Who you pick as jurors is critical.)

(Update 6/4/2012: Ruling clarified, reporters not allowed to text or tweet during trial (back to pen and paper, and filing reports at breaks–precedent for new tweet law?) Judge rules adult victims actual names will be used at trial. No ruling yet on defense’s request to dismiss case or some of the charges due to lack of evidence. And, State Supreme Court denies the defense’s request to delay Tuesday trial due to unavailability of witnesses and additional time needed to review discovery.)

(Update 6/2/2012: Sandusky (in a “delay the play” move) has filed an appeal to State Supreme Court requesting delay of trial set to start on Tuesday, apparently, due to additional time needed to review discovery and possible witness unavailability. (Unlikely, to succeed as 2 lower courts have denied the defenses delay request.) Although, the trial will not be televised, the trial judge is allowing reporters to tweet and text but prohibits “any verbatim account” of the proceeding, as reported by the Associated Press. (What? He must be mistaken. First amendment, freedom of the press, public’s right to know, and that small thing called accurate and truthful reporting?). Several media outlets are requesting the judge to “clarify” his ruling.)  

Other posts you may want to read and share:

Jerry Sandusky Trial: May The Healing Begin

Jerry Sandusky Gets Visits With Grandkids- Crack To An Addict?

Jerry Sandusky Waives Preliminary Hearing: Tactical Or Manipulative?

Jerry Sandusky Case: Tis The Season For Healing, A Former Prosecutor’s Perspective

What Not To Do At The Preliminary Hearing


3 Comments on “Jerry Sandusky Trial: Get Ready For Football”

  1. Kim Cobaugh says:

    Fantastic blog Michele. Thank you for the fine work you do!

  2. Jill Estensen says:

    The NFL and all of it’s components are treated differently by jurors and judges than ordinary folk. Players are this country’s golden boys and they many times get away with heinous crimes because nobody wants to be the one to take down the golden system. Gladiators get away with murder and worse. I’ve personally seen the courts in action with an NFL player and his crimes….no, not OJ….a much smaller personality. The jury no doubt has a few football fans (fanatics) ready to call Sandusky innocent.

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