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Entries in Sexual Abuse (54)

Tuesday
Oct092012

After Sandusky, Florida Passes One of Nation's Toughest Sexual Abuse Reporting Laws

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The Penn State scandal helped shape a new Florida sexual abuse reporting law that has been called the toughest in the nation, holding universities and individuals financially and criminally liable for failure to report suspected abuse.

Under the law, which went into effect Oct. 1, colleges and universities that "knowingly and willfully" fail to report known or suspected child abuse or prevent another person from doing so will be slapped with a $1 million fine for each failure.

"We learned we didn't want to take a chance on [them]," said Ron Book, president of Lauren's Kids, a nonprofit that helped spearhead the legislation.

That began with mandating that schools report all allegations, not just conduct their own investigations. Book pointed to allegations from Penn State, Syracuse University and The Citadel that were known to administrators but not reported to authorities.

"What we learned after the Sandusky indictment was even though we prided ourselves as being a true mandatory reporting state, we found we weren't," Book said.

Aside from the university financial penalties, Book and his daughter, Lauren, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, also helped closed loopholes in the legislation for individual reporting.

"Applying Penn State to the old Florida law, would Mike McQueary [have] had to report what he saw?" Book said, referring to the former Penn State assistant coach who witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the school's showers.

"The answer was he would not have."

Previously, a person who called the state abuse hotline to report a suspected incident involving a child would have been asked to call law enforcement if the suspected predator was not a care taker or parent of the child, Book said.

"What we've learned is it's hard enough to get a victim or observer to call once," he said.

Under the new law, witnesses, like McQueary, or people who suspect abuse, are required to call a centralized hotline run by the Florida Department of Children and Families or face third-degree felony charges and a $5,000 fine.

Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, said the stricter reporting law won't necessarily reduce the number of cases of abuse.

"Bad people are going to do bad things," she said, "but I think we can reduce it and we can make it very clear to every citizen that we're all responsible for the welfare of our children."

The Florida Department of Children and Families reported a 25 percent increase in calls since the law went into effect on Oct. 1.

While other states have mandatory reporting laws, there are still loopholes, Book said.

He'd like to see the Florida law he helped pass be used as a model for other states, especially for how they handle situations at colleges and universities.

"If you don't back it up with financial and criminal penalties, you've done nothing and we've gotten nothing out of Sandusky," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct042012

Parents: Indiana Boy Sexually Abused by Second-Grade Classmates

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(MUNCIE, Ind.) -- The parents of an Indiana boy allege that their 8-year-old son was the victim of "horrific and ghastly" sexual abuse by his second-grade classmates.  The parents say the boys acted out scenes from pornographic videos that they watched at school without supervision.

The parents are identified only as John Doe and Jane Doe in order to protect the identity of their son, identified only as Junior Doe.  They filed the lawsuit on Friday in Delaware County, Ind., against Ball State University, which runs the Burris Laboratory School, where the alleged abuse took place.

The alleged abuse and molestation occurred on at least 11 occasions over a three-month period in the fall of 2011, the parents say, and involved four boys (including their son).

The parents say they discovered the abuse when another parent overheard her son talking to another boy about what was going on in the bathrooms at school.  When she asked her son for names, Junior Doe's name came up and she called his parents.

"You hear something of that nature, that your child basically lost his innocence forever engaging in the most private sexual acts possible with other students at school," Jason Delk, the attorney for John and Jane Doe, told ABC News.  "They were absolutely horrified."

"The Does discovered that due to Burris and Ball State's complete lack of supervision and institutional controls over their eight (8) year old son during the school day, Junior Doe was forced, on multiple occasions, to engage in explicit sex acts with other children and forced to perform oral sex on other children his age," the lawsuit alleges.

The parents allege that the school gave the young students "unfettered access" to the Internet, where the boys would view the videos and then "act out" the scenes on one another.

The parents believe the abuse took place in the school's bathroom, library and classroom.  They are suing the school for negligence, violation of Title IX and deprivation of constitutional rights.  They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The parents claim that students approached their teacher "on more than one occasion" to inform her that certain boys in the class "were doing things to other boys' private parts," according to the lawsuit.  The teacher, who is also being sued, allegedly told the students to sit down, stop "tattling" and took no other action.

Ball State denies the allegations.

Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot said in a statement that the university could confirm that it "became aware of reported concerns about allegations of inappropriate behavior among four second grade students at Burris."  He said that the concerns were reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services and local law enforcement.

The attorney representing the defendants did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep242012

Coach Probed in Sex Abuse Hazing Accusations

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Four high school varsity players have been arrested and a faculty member suspended in a growing investigation of hazing that included sexual abuse at a southern California high school.

The investigation that began with complaints by members of La Puente High School’s boys soccer team has spread to other teams, and police interviews have included students who played for the school’s teams as far back as 10 years ago, Sgt. Dan Scott of the Special Victims Bureau told ABC News, with the investigation focusing on the past three to four years.

A faculty member has been suspended with pay in connection with the allegations.

“There is a teacher coach involved, and we don’t know the degree of involvement,” Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka said in a press conference.

An attorney for the victims says the faculty member encouraged the hazing, ABC affiliate KABC-TV reports, but police say they haven’t found anything to indicate any adults were involved.

The initial allegations related to incidents that happened between March and August of this year, and were against varsity soccer players, KABC reports.

The subsequent investigation revealed the alleged hazing may be more widespread, and likely has gone on for several years.

Brian Claypool, the lawyer for three of the victims, said the abuse involved a coach who allegedly lured younger players to a back room where varsity students attempted to sodomize them with foreign objects.

He said the hazing “has been going on for quite some time.” Claypool said one victim was treated at the hospital for his injuries, KABC reported.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Superintendents office issued a statement calling the allegations “deeply disturbing.”

Because the students involved are minors, police withheld specifics about the hazing, but Scott noted the Special Victims Bureau handles cases of both physical and sexual abuse. He also said there were multiple acts perpetrated against multiple children.

The students who were arrested Friday have since been released.

A friend of one of the accused told KABC she was shocked by the allegations.

“If they were part of it, I didn’t expect them to be a part of it,” Ashley Acosta said. “They are really cool. You could go to them for anything if you needed help with anything.”

The school district isn’t saying what disciplinary action they are taking against the students, citing privacy concerns.

Law enforcement is asking anyone with further information into the allegations to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Man Acquitted of Beating of Priest He Said Sexually Abused Him

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- William Lynch, the California man who admitted he pummeled a priest who he said abused him as a boy, has been found not guilty of felony assault and elder abuse charges.

The jury of nine men and three women could not reach a verdict on a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault for the 2010 attack at a retirement home.

The jury began deliberations late Monday after hearing impassioned closing arguments from both sides.

The defense's strategy had long been to prove to the jury that the wrong man was on trial. However, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti urged jurors to focus on the assault.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," she said in her closing arguments on Monday.

Lynch's crusade for his own form of personal justice against the priest, Jerry Lindner, drew supporters to the courthouse in San Jose, Calif., during his nearly three-week trial. They carried signs that read "stop clergy sex abuse" and condemned the "pedophile playground" retirement community that is home to Lindner, who has had previous allegations against him.

Lynch testified last Friday that he visited Lindner with the intention of having the aging Jesuit sign a confession, but when the priest "looked up and leered" at Lynch in the same manner he did more than 35 years ago when he sexually abused him, Lynch said he ordered the priest to take off his glasses and hit him.

Lynch passed up a plea deal of one year in jail and instead chose to go to trial to publicly shame the man who he said haunted his memories for 35 years.

On a family camping trip 35 years ago, Lynch said he was brutally raped at age 7 by Lindner and was then forced to perform sex acts on his 4-year-old brother.

The boys kept their painful secret for years, long past the six-year statute of limitations California had in place at the time of the alleged crimes.

Lynch got his wish to see the priest in court, even if the tables were turned. Lindner was forced to testify, but a short time later the Jesuit invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The judge struck his testimony from the record.

During his short time on the stand, Lindner, now 67, told the court he remembered Lynch, but only as the man who attacked him at a Los Gatos, Calif., Jesuit retirement community where the priest has resided since 2001.

Lindner denied molesting Lynch and his younger brother on a camping trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.

Lynch's attorney declared the priest had perjured himself and even prosecutor Vicki Gemetti said in her opening statement that she expected Lindner to lie on the stand or say he didn't remember certain events.

"The evidence will show [Lindner] molested the defendant all those years ago," she said, but urged the jury to focus on Lynch's attack.

Lynch's case of alleged vigilante justice has attracted support from around the world and has shed light on a justice system many view as flawed.

Lynch and his brother were awarded $625,000 after filing a civil suit against Lindner in 1997. The priest was removed from active ministry and was moved to the Jesuit retirement community in 2001.

Lindner was named in two other abuse lawsuits, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun282012

Priest Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Woman Undergoing Exorcisms

Image Source/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- A Virginia woman came to a priest to be purged of her "evil spirits" in 2008 but claims the priest repeatedly molested her during the two-year exorcism that followed.

The woman -- known only as Jane Doe -- filed a lawsuit on June 19 in Arlington County Circuit Court against Human Life International, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and one of its bishops, alleging they failed to stop the abusive sexual encounters. She seeks more than $5.3 million in damages.

The woman had already reached a private settlement with the exorcist, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, who was the president of anti-abortion rights group Human Life International during the time of the exorcism, according to her lawyer.

In the lawsuit filed last week, she claims Euteneuer abused her in the Human Life International offices during working hours, and the employees knew the exorcism sessions were going on there. In addition, the suit claims the Diocese of Arlington should have been responsible for Euteneuer's conduct because he was working within its jurisdiction.

The lawsuit alleges that Euteneuer told the woman her "case" was "severe," and in April 2008, told her the Diocese had given him permission to perform the exorcism.

That month, Euteneuer hugged Jane Doe and told her "I wish I could go a lot further," according to the lawsuit, before carrying her to a guest residence at Human Life International, where he "laid her on the bed" and "touched her under her bra."

In the weeks that followed, Euteneuer explained "full, passionate kisses as 'blowing the Holy Spirit' into her," the lawsuit said.

For the next two years, he would direct the woman to undress and touch his penis, according to the lawsuit. He also "digitally" penetrated her, the court filing said.

The suit goes on to say that Human Life International hired the woman by circumventing its usual hiring policies, and that Euteneuer regularly gave her money. He later followed her to Hawaii, where she was vacationing with her family, and burned her journal to get rid of evidence of their encounters, the lawsuit alleges.

The woman complained to the Diocese about the abuse in July 2010, but Euteneuer stayed in office for another two months before he resigned and was recalled to the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., according to the document.

He sexually abused her two more times, becoming rough and making her bleed, the suit claims.

The suit alleges that Euteneuer knew his victim had dissociative disorder, which Mayo Clinic defines as "escap[ing] reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy."

In 2011, Euteneuer issued a statement in which he admitted to "violations of chastity" with an adult woman but that he never intended to leave the priesthood over the accusations.

Euteneuer was not named as a defendant in the current lawsuit, because he and the woman had already reached a private settlement, according to the victim's lawyer, Demetrios Pikrallidas.

Although the defendants have not yet been served and are therefore not required to respond to these allegations, Human Life International and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington have sent statements to ABC News.

Human Life International spokesman Stephan Phelan said the accusations concern Euteneuer -- who has not been an HLI employee for nearly two years -- not the anti-abortion rights organization.

"We intend to vigorously defend HLI from the false accusations made against it, and we are undeterred in pursuing HLI's mission to build a culture of life and protect the unborn," Phelan said.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington emphasized that Euteneuer was not one of its priests, but a priest with the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., which was not named as a defendant in the suit.

Diocese of Arlington spokesman Michael Donohue told ABC News that Euteneuer was never authorized to perform an exorcism. Although the Diocese does have an exorcist, Donohue said the exorcist's name is not public.

Donohue said that once the woman complained to the Diocese of Arlington, it reported the allegations to the Diocese in Palm Beach within two days.

Pikrallidas told ABC News that it took her "a lot of courage" to file the charges against the organization, and that she remains "distraught."

"A person that reached a point in their life turns to the church to seek guidance and is led down the wrong path for personal gratification," Pikrallidas said. "This was not easy by any stretch of the imagination for her."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun252012

Matt Sandusky Feared Perjury Charge over Grand Jury Testimony

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- The adopted son of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky detailed claims of sex abuse in a 25-minute audio tape with police, but he also worried about a perjury charge because he told a grand jury nothing inappropriate ever happened.

Karl Rominger, one of Jerry Sandusky's defense attorneys, confirmed for ABC News the existence of the audio tape.

"As a general rule it's a tape of Matt (Sandusky) making the allegations. I don't feel comfortable going into specifics about what he says, but I'll say that he is an alleged victim, so that will tell you some," said Rominger, who has listened to the audio recording of the interview.

The recording shows Matt Sandusky, whom Jerry and Dottie Sandusky adopted in his teenage years, hesitating to talk about the abuse allegations because he had previously said under oath that his father had not molested him, Rominger said.

"The problem is," Rominger said, quoting Matt Sandusky from the audio tape, "'I don't want to get into trouble for perjury'... because he previously said other things."

He then goes on, however, to detail allegations which Rominger said echo those of other alleged victims, specifically those represented by Matt Sandusky's attorney, Andrew Shubin. Shubin represents the men known as Victim 3 and Victim 7 in court documents.

"It seems like that story magically tracks one of Shubin's clients' stories," Rominger said. "A lot of these kids seem to have this kind of magnetic memory that comes back over time. (Matt's) comes back all of a sudden."

A source close to the state's investigation confirmed the existence of the audio recording to ABC.

Matt Sandusky came to prosecutors during the first week of the trial to say that he, too, had been molested by his father. Prior to that, Matt had been a staunch supporter of the former Penn State football coach, who took him in when he was a teenager and later adopted him. Matt was listed as a witness for the defense at the beginning of the trial.

After meeting with him on Thursday, prosecutors notified the defense that Matt Sandusky could be called as a rebuttal witness before the trial's completion. Defense attorneys cited that fact as the reason for not putting Jerry Sandusky on the stand to defend himself, lest the prosecutors then call Matt Sandusky to talk about his own alleged abuse.

Matt Sandusky has so far declined to go public with his allegations, though Shubin released a statement saying that Matt was a victim of his father.

Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse on Friday night following a two-week trial that saw eight men testify against him about being molested. One man, known as Victim 4, said that when Sandusky began a soap fight with the boy in a Penn State locker room shower one day, Matt Sandusky left quickly and acted "nervous."

Matt Sandusky watched only the first day of the trial before he was sequestered as a possible witness for the defense.

Sandusky's attorneys began discussing a possible appeal of the guilty verdicts just moments after leaving the courthouse Friday.

Sandusky's lead lawyer Joseph Amendola told ABCNews.com today that it was "not definite" that he would stay on to handle the appeal, but said, "I anticipate I'll be a witness for Jerry on his appeal."

Rominger confirmed that he planned to stay on for the appeal process.

The appeals process cannot begin until Sandusky is sentenced, which Judge John Cleland said would take approximately 90 days. The process is then a lengthy and expensive one, noted Jules Epstein, a law professor and attorney at Widener University in Pennsylvania. If Sandusky's estate is the subject of multiple civil actions, it is unclear if or how he will be able to afford to mount an appeal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Jerry Sandusky Lawyers Lean Toward Putting Him on Stand

Rob Carr/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Jerry Sandusky will not take the stand in his child sex abuse trial, ABC News has learned.

(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- Jerry Sandusky's lawyers are leaning toward putting him on the stand in his own defense Wednesday, though the final decision has not yet been made, sources tell ABC News.

Sandusky would be called as the final witness for the defense, which is expected to rest its case on Wednesday. He is expected to deny that he ever had any sexual intent in his "horseplay" with the eight men who say they were sexually abused by him.

Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan, who has aggressively cross-examined defense witnesses this week, will have the opportunity to question Sandusky if they decide to put him on the stand.

Sandusky is charged with 51 counts of child sex abuse and could face life in prison if convicted.

His testimony could be a final chance for the defense, led by attorney Joseph Amendola, to place a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. The case is expected to go to the jury of seven women and five men following closing arguments on Thursday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun192012

Sandusky Trial Hears Wife Call Accusers 'Conniving' and 'Clingy'

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- A poised Dottie Sandusky testified Tuesday that she never saw anything sexual occur between her husband Jerry Sandusky and any of the accusers in the sex abuse trial that could send her husband to prison for life.

Dottie Sandusky, who winked at her husband as she took the stand, said in a soft voice that she would be married to Sandusky for "46 years in September," and was the strongest witness called so far by Sandusky's defense lawyer, Joseph Amendola.

In a patient grandmotherly style, she described most of her husband's accusers as "very nice," but remembered some as "conniving" and "very clingy."

Her testimony followed a morning of testimony in which Amendola poked holes in the accounts of two lead investigators and challenged the credibility of the police and the alleged victims.

Dottie Sandusky bluntly denied the accusation of one accuser who told the court last week that during the Alamo Bowl she walked in on her husband trying to force the boy, now known as Victim 4, to perform oral sex on him. He claimed she interrupted her husband by asking, "What's going on in there?"

Mrs. Sandusky's version was quite different.

"I came in one day. It was like a bathroom and dressing area. They were standing there. I said 'what's going on' because Jerry was very upset and we had asked (Victim 4) if he wanted to go to a luncheon which was $50, and he said he'd really like to go. And Jerry said OK, and it was the day of the luncheon and (Victim 4) wouldn't go and Jerry knew I'd be very upset about spending the money."

Dottie Sandusky told the court room that nothing seemed inappropriate about the exchange.

"They were just standing in little hallways, they were fully clothed," she said.

Dottie Sandusky also rejected repeated testimony by the alleged victims that Jerry Sandusky would molest them at night in the family basement, an area they said his wife never went.

Mrs. Sandusky told the jury Tuesday that she and her husband had always shared a bed and that her husband would usually go to bed first. She also testified that she would often go down to the basement to get food out of a freezer there.

In response to the allegation from Victim 10 that he once yelled for help while being sexually abused in the basement while Dottie Sandusky was upstairs, Amendola asked whether someone on the ground floor would be able to hear someone yelling from the basement. "Yes," she responded and added that her hearing was very good.

She also described Victim 4, who testified powerfully about the sex abuse he allegedly endured, as "demanding, and he was very conniving, and he wanted his way and didn't listen a whole lot."

Amendola told Judge John Cleland that the defense "had not yet decided" about another unidentified witness. The prosecution can still call Sandusky to testify on his own behalf, but refused to tell reporters whether Sandusky would take the stand, saying only, "stay tuned."

Sandusky is charged with 51 counts of sex abuse of 10 boys. The jury of seven women and five men is expected to get the case later this week and Sandusky, 68, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

Jerry Sandusky Defense Ignores Detailed Accusations

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- The withering allegations of sex abuse from eight accusers in the Jerry Sandusky trial were largely ignored Monday by Sandusky's legal team as the defense began telling their side of the story.

The defense's first day of testimony ended abruptly only an hour into the afternoon session as Judge John Cleland told the jury that "technical issues" with some of the witnesses would keep court adjourned until Tuesday morning. But he laid out a schedule that indicates Sandusky will offer few witnesses on his behalf.

Cleland would not explain what the problems with the witnesses were Monday, but said only that he expected the defense to rest Wednesday. He said the court would hear a rebuttal from the prosecution on Wednesday afternoon, and told the attorneys to be ready to give closing arguments on Thursday.

The judge informed the jury that they will be sequestered once they begin deliberations.

Sandusky, 68, is charged with 52 counts of molesting 10 boys. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the charges.

Sandusky's lawyers called four people to the stand and all were essentially character witnesses.

Former youth counselor Brett Witmer was called to the stand to counter some of the claims from the man known as Victim 4, who testified that Sandusky took a special interest in him, wrote him letters and made him sign contracts, stalked him from school begging the boy to talk to him, and sexually abused him.

Under questioning by defense attorney Joseph Amendola, Witmer said that he worked with Victim 4 at a youth group program the boy was in during elementary and middle school. He said that the boy told him Sandusky was a big part of his life, and he often saw the two interacting.

"Jerry certainly seemed to be an important part of (Victim 4's) life....He seemed like he had a genuine interest in making sure the kid was moving in the right direction," Witmer, now an elementary school teacher, testified.

He relayed an incident in which Sandusky showed up at the youth center to pick up Victim 4, and the boy did not show. Sandusky and the counselor chatted on the steps of the youth center.

"He said, 'You've got to understand when you're dealing with kids coming from difficult situations sometimes they're not going to want to meet with you, go with you, and other times they're going to want to do fun things and play. You just always have to be there for them,'" Witmer recalled. "Even as I do social work now I keep that in mind."

David Pasquinelli, a former board member for the Second Mile, the charity Sandusky helped create, said that for two years he and Sandusky would take fundraising trips together and got to know each other well.

"I saw a mutual admiration between Second Mile youth, both boys and girls, with Jerry. I saw a lot of goofing around. Jerry had a very unique way, and many of us were inspired by this, how he could relate to youth of all ages and really get to their level and communicate," Pasquinelli said.

In addition, two former Penn State coaches who worked with Sandusky, Richard Anderson and Booker Brooks, were called to testify about a locker room culture where showering with young boys was common. Sandusky is accused of using showers to molest young boys.

"Jerry had a great reputation. He had a wonderful reputation in the community, he was well thought of in every way," Anderson said.

Before the defense began its case, the prosecution presented one last emotional witness.

The mother of Victim 9 testified through tears that she felt responsible for pushing her son to spend time with the coach because "he was Jerry Sandusky. He was an important guy."

The woman said that she never asked her son, who testified last week that he was raped by Sandusky, what exactly happened to him in Sandusky's basement during the sleepovers he said he had every weekend for nearly four years.

On Thursday, Victim 9, who is now 18, said that he was repeatedly forced to perform oral sex on Sandusky and be sodomized by Sandusky in the coach's basement. The testimony followed seven other witnesses who said they were sexually abused by Sandusky.

The mother said that her son called her once from Sandusky's house asking her to pick him up immediately because he was feeling sick. In his testimony Thursday, Victim 9 said he called his mom for help once when Sandusky was sexually abusing him, but did not tell his mother the reason for the call.

Victim 9's mother testified that he suffered medical problems during ages 15, 16, and 17 when he had severe stomach problems and trouble going to the bathroom. She said he also never put his underwear into the laundry, always telling his mother that he had an accident and threw them out.

On Thursday, Amendola questioned Victim 9 about rectal bleeding and stains on his underwear. The boy said his mother never saw stains and that he "just dealt with it."

The trial resumed Monday with a surprising statement from Judge John Cleland saying he had doubts about the strength of the prosecution's case, but at this point in the trial is convinced that there is enough credible evidence that the charges should go to a jury. His comments were made while the jury was out of the courtroom.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun152012

Jerry Sandusky Psychiatric Testimony Allowed by Judge

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) -- A mental health expert will be allowed to testify that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, accused of molesting 10 boys, suffers from a psychiatric condition that causes him to act in an "overly seductive" manner and that his lawyer claims would explain his displays of affection towards the boys.

Judge John Cleland granted Sandusky's motion to submit evidence of "histrionic personality disorder" under the stipulation that the defendant also make himself available to the government's own psychiatrists, so prosecutors could prepare a rebuttal.

According to the National Institutes of Health, histrionic personality disorder "is a condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves."

Symptoms of the condition include "acting or looking overly seductive," "being overly dramatic and emotional" and "believing that relationships are more intimate than they actually are," according to the NIH.

Eight young men testified this week that Sandusky showered with them, soaping them up, playing the "tickle monster," and that his actions frequently led to aggressive sexual acts including anal rape and oral sex.

He also wrote what one victim called "creepy" love letters.

"The jury should not be misled into believing these statements and actions are likely grooming when they are just as likely or more likely histrionic in origin," wrote defense attorney Karl Rominger in the June 11 filing.

The judge Friday granted the motion, but required "pursuant to counsel" that Sandusky be evaluated by a government expert.

It is currently unknown whether Sandusky's lawyers would go forward with putting their expert on the stand now that it means turning over their client for psychiatric evaluation by the state.

The motion would not, however, require Sandusky to take the stand.

Sandusky 68, a Penn State football coach and founder of children's charity, is charged with 52 counts of sex abuse against 10 boys. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

The scandal rocked Penn State and forced the firings of school president Graham Spanier and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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