Sandusky witness: I wish I had spoken up sooner

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IOL pic june12 jerry sandusky penn state trial Associated Press Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the first day of his child sex abuse trial in Bellefonte.

Bellefonte - Testimony resumes on Tuesday in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky after the first witness graphically accused the former Penn State football coach of years of molestation.

The 28-year-old man - one of eight alleged victims of Sandusky due to be prosecution witnesses - told jurors on the first day of trial on Monday he had kept silent about the scores of times he was allegedly abused because he was ashamed.

The slender, dark-haired white man said he also did not want to lose the benefits of being with the well-known coach, including gifts, trips to football bowl games and attention.

But he had decided to speak out when he realised that other boys, now men, had been abused as well, he said in Centre County Court.

“If I had said something back then they wouldn't have had this happen to them,” said the witness. He met Sandusky at about 13 in 1996 or 1997 and testified he was abused sexually, including performing oral sex, for three or four years.

Reuters' policy is not to identify victims of sexual crimes.

Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator in Pennsylvania State University's high-powered football program, faces 52 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. If convicted on all counts, he faces more than 500 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege Sandusky had physical contact with the boys, known in court documents as Victims 1 to 10, that ranged from tickling and a “soap battle” in Penn State showers to oral and anal sex.

Sandusky is accused of using the Second Mile, a charity he founded in 1977, to prey on needy young boys.

The abuse charges prompted the firing of revered coach Joe Paterno, the winningest college football coach, and university President Graham Spanier last November.

The charges also brought an unprecedented focus on child sexual abuse in the United States.

In his opening arguments on Monday, prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III called Sandusky a “predatory pedophile.” He urged the jury to listen to his alleged victims as though they were children.

Handwritten letters allegedly sent by Sandusky to the witness also were placed into evidence by the prosecution.

Joe Amendola, Sandusky's attorney, indicated that the former coach could take the witness stand.

He told jurors in his opening statement that the former coach would tell them about his youth and how taking showers with other people had been common when he was growing up in Washington, Pennsylvania, where his parents ran a recreation centre.

Amendola also suggested that the accusers could be out for money, saying that six of the eight men, including Monday's witness, had hired attorneys.

Judge John Cleland has said the trial could be completed by the end of the month.

Media covering the trial have flooded Bellefonte, a small town about 16 km northeast of State College, the university's home. Dozens of television satellite trucks have surrounded the Greek Revival courthouse, and reporters trample the lawn.

But the courtroom itself was only about three-quarters full on Monday, mostly with reporters, with relatively few local spectators. - Reuters

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