Sports

Complexity of Jerry Sandusky Trial May Lead to Unexpected Verdict

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The things that took place during Jerry Sandusky's time at Penn State were abnormal to say the least. Even if he is found not guilty, his actions will never be construed as the actions of a healthy, regular person. Showering with young boys and “wrestling” while in the shower is reserved for only the most sub-human. No matter how many character witnesses want to try and compare it to “showering at the YMCA.”

Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, has compared the situation to a soap opera. Can you guess which one? If your guess was All My Children, then you would sadly be correct.

Doesn’t that just make your stomach turn?

How could any self respecting person make such an analogy? I guess when you’re a defense attorney who represents accused child molesters – self respect isn’t in your repertoire. Maybe that’s why Amendola had two former Penn St. coaches testify to showering with young boys. If you can humanize the situation by making references to soap operas and having other people testify to doing “basically” the same thing as Sandusky – then perhaps the jury will look at Sandusky and just see a sad, confused old man who is just the target of false accusations.

That’s the only hope the defense has. To disparage the testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses. One of the first witnesses for the defense, a sister of the best friend of one of the accusers, has testified that the accuser has a history of dishonesty and has “embellished stories.” Isn’t that true of everybody walking the face of this planet? Would my testimony not count because I’ve lied in my past and embellished stories on occasion?

But there is another thing that makes this case all the more frightening. It turns out Pennsylvania law is behind the times when it comes to sex crime trials. Philadelphia Weekly’s, Tara Murtha pointed out some startling facts about the laws pertaining to these types of cases in Pennsylvania courts:

1. Trial judges are required to instruct jurors to factor in how long it took for victims to report their allegations of sex abuse to authorities, even though that time difference is known to have no relevance to the truth of their claims.

2. Expert testimony in sex assault cases is not permitted.

So, because the accusers all didn’t come forward right after their separate instances of allege abuse – their testimony should be questioned for no other reason other than the fact that they waited. Like any scared, confused, broken young child would do.

And if there is anyone out there who can explain to me why an expert witness would not be allowed in any case – no matter what it involves – I would love to hear your incredibly dim witted retort.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that has these types of regulations. Common sense would make you think that because of the high profile nature of this case – and the ramifications if the trial is botched – that the state legislature would expedite the process of changing these archaic rules. But common sense does not rule in the state of Pennsylvania.

This leaves a huge amount of room for Amendola to work with. Especially considering that many of the accusers not only waited to tell their stories, but maintained a relationship with Sandusky after the alleged acts occurred. Actions that could easily be explained by an expert witness as Murtha eloquently stated in her article:

“In sexual-assault trials, psychology experts could advise jurors, for example, that it is common for child-sex-abuse victims to maintain relationships with the authority figures who attacked them and that it’s also common for a victim to not reveal the abuse for years.”

But this type of information is not allowed. Instead, what is allowed, is for Joe Amendola to badger and hammer away at the credibility and fragile mental state that these witnesses are sure to be in when they are forced to recall their horrific ordeals.

Something else that will be admissible in court – the defense’s argument that Sandusky has a condition called “histrionic personality disorder.” Defined by the American Psychiatric Association as:

A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.

That’s right. The judge issued an order allowing this information to be presented in front of the jury, but not the previously mentioned explanation of why sexual abuse victims act in the manner of Sandusky’s accusers. Instead, the defense will be allowed to explain all of Sandusky’s actions under the broad umbrella of a mental imbalance.

Are you mad yet? Because you should be. Well, get ready to get even more enraged.

Eight of the 13 jurors have ties to Jerry Sandusky, including three who actually worked at the university. Maybe that doesn’t mean anything, but with a case of this magnitude – why risk anything?

With the acquittal of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Casey Anthony so fresh in the minds of the American people. Doesn’t it seem like this trial could be headed in the same direction? Can’t you just picture a group of PSU homers feeling bad for the once great coach as he sits there like a broken old man?

The Anthony trial is what sticks out for me. In a court of law all you need to do is establish reasonable doubt. That’s what her lawyer did, and that is what Amendola will continue to try and do. It’s something that is too easy when you’re basically dealing with a he said she said situation.

There is very little in the way of tangible evidence. Save for the awkward interviews and phone calls where Sandusky apologizes to one of the victims mother. Apologizing for what – exactly – is not known. Leaving plenty of room for reasonable doubt to find its way in to the minds of jurors.

As damning as all the stories and accusations may seem – there is still a chance that this guy walks. A chance that seems too great to take by leaving it in the hands of the fine folks of Pennsylvania. We all just have to hope that the prosecutions last witness, the mother of an 18 year old accusee, will be enough.

The boy’s mother had to sit through her sons testimony about how Sandusky raped him to the point that he bled anally. She then followed up this heart wrenching tale of her son with:

“He (Sandusky) gave him clothes, he gave him gifts,” she said. “I wish he would have gave him underwear to replace the underwear that I could never find in my laundry.”

I’d like to believe that there is a special ring in hell for people who fracture the innocence of children. Let’s hope that the people of the jury are not swayed by the continuing defense by Joe Amendola and his team. It would give me – and I would hope his accusers – some relief to know that before Sandusky dies he gets to experience the hell on earth that befalls a convicted child molester in prison.

But for now we have to sit and wait. Just like Jerry Sandusky does each day on his back porch. A back porch that overlooks a nearby schoolyard.

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