Jurors deliberate until 9:30 p.m. ET; they'll reconvene Friday morning
Adopted son of Jerry Sandusky says he was prepared to testify
Three more criminal counts have been dropped against Jerry Sandusky
At least 6 accusers spent the night in the Sandusky home, his wife testifies
Matt Sandusky, one of six adopted children of Jerry Sandusky, said through his attorney Thursday that he was sexually abused by the former Penn State assistant football coach, adding that he had been prepared to testify against him in a high-profile child rape case.
The revelation came on the same day a Pennsylvania jury began deliberating the fate of Jerry Sandusky, who is confronted with accusations of child sexual abuse involving 10 alleged victims.
Jurors deliberated until about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. They will reconvene Friday morning and review testimony from two witnesses.
Matt Sandusky’s accusation could lead to additional charges, including incest, even though he is adopted, according to Marci Hamilton, a Cardozo Law School professor who has represented victims and written on sexual abuse cases.
“At Matt’s request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators,” attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici said in a statement. “This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt, and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy.”
Jerry Sandusky, 68, pleaded not guilty to charges of child sex abuse over a 15-year period.
After a week of testimony, jurors will have to decide without having heard from the former Penn State defensive coordinator on the witness stand.
During closing arguments, his defense sought to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, pointing to inconsistencies with the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former graduate student and assistant coach who said he saw Sandusky apparently sodomizing a boy in a university shower.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola reminded jurors of the lack of physical evidence in the case. He accused the alleged victims of conspiring for financial gain while blaming the media for what he described as biased coverage.
During the arguments, Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was seen quietly crying.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan followed Amendola, rebuffing the defense’s account of a coordinated action among Sandusky’s accusers allegedly bent on financial windfall.
“The great thing about conspiracy theories is you just let them go on and on, until they collapse under their own weight,” he said.
McGettigan described the former coach as a pedophile who systematically preyed on his victims using a charity he founded for troubled children, identifying and repeatedly abusing young boys in his care.
On Tuesday, Sandusky’s wife told jurors that she could remember at least six of her husband’s accusers staying overnight at their house, but that she never witnessed sexual abuse.
Earlier Thursday, Judge John Cleland announced that three of the counts were dropped against the former coach, bringing the total number of charges to 48.
He told jurors that all three counts pertain to “alleged victim 4,” while the defense further petitioned to have all counts related to “alleged victim 8” dismissed as well.
Cleland said one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse duplicated another charge. Two other counts – one of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and another of aggravated indecent assault – were not supported by testimony and the evidence presented, Cleland found.
Prosecutors dropped one of the original 52 counts earlier this week because the statute on which that charge was based wasn’t in effect on the date of the alleged incident. His accuser said it occurred in 1995 or 1996, but the unlawful contact with a minor statute didn’t apply until 1997.
The prosecution had called its only rebuttal witness Tuesday, to counter testimony that raised questions about Sandusky’s mental health.
The defense challenged the accusers’ timetable, questioned the various allegations and called multiple character witness to defend Sandusky’s stellar reputation in the community.
Some court observers had said that if Sandusky were to testify, prosecutors could submit as new evidence a TV interview the ex-coach had with NBC sportscaster Bob Costas.
In a portion of the interview that was not part of the original November broadcast, Sandusky told Costas that he “didn’t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped.” There are likely “many young people who would come forward and say that my methods and what I had done for them made a very positive impact on their life,” Sandusky said.
On Wednesday, the defense called Dr. Jonathan Dranov, an acquaintance of McQueary’s, who told jurors that the former assistant coach told him he heard “sexual sounds” and saw the boy in the shower when an arm reached around him but, did not actually see a sexual encounter. Sandusky then emerged from the shower area, he said.
That account is different from what McQueary described in his testimony. He said that he witnessed Sandusky pressing against the boy in the shower and that it seemed obvious that he had been raping him.
Jurors on Thursday told the judge they’d like to review testimony by McQueary and Dranov. Cleland agreed.
Matt Sandusky’s name came up during testimony from one of the alleged victims.
The accuser talked about what occurred after he played racquetball once with Jerry and Matt Sandusky.
“Matt went into the shower, and then me and Jerry came in … he started pumping his hand full of soap, like he was going to throw it. Matt got out … he went to another shower [area].”
The witness, the first accuser to take the stand, said Matt Sandusky looked “nervous” when he saw that Jerry Sandusky was about to start a soap fight.
According to several of the alleged victims, Jerry Sandusky would often use shower “soap fights” as a prelude to inappropriate sexual contact.
In his 2001 autobiography, “Touched,” Jerry Sandusky wrote about his relationship with Matt Sandusky, who he met through Second Mile when the youth was 7 or 8.
“He would visit our house occasionally, but he was never one to get very attached to anyone. He would stand off in the corner somewhere and watch as I would be wrestling with the other kids. He became an instant challenge for me,” Sandusky wrote. “I didn’t want to see him go through life by himself at such a young age. I didn’t want to lose him to whatever other fates might have awaited him, so I kept trying and trying to pull him in.”
Sandusky detailed the youth’s discipline problems and struggles, ultimately becoming close to his new family.
“He had the strength and the courage to stay loyal to us even when we weren’t sure what would happen,” Sandusky wrote. “He could have hurt us. He could have driven us out of his life, but he didn’t. And that will always mean the world to us.”
Meanwhile, a man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by Sandusky while a child spoke out Thursday.
“He (once) told me if I ever said anything that nobody was going to believe me and he would get my dad fired from Penn State,” Travis Weaver, 30, told NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”
Weaver did not testify in Sandusky’s trial, but did file a civil action against the former coach.
Weaver’s attorney, Marci Hamilton, told CNN, “Travis’s story fits in with other survivors, but also Matt Sandusky.”
She said her client at first thought he was the only victim.
“When he found out there were others, he was in real misery,” Hamilton said, adding Sandusky tried to adopt Weaver.
CNN’s Susan Candiotti, Ross Levitt, Jason Carroll, Dana Garrett, Laura Dolan and In Session’s Michael Christian and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.