The prosecution in the Jerry Sandusky trial finished presenting its witnesses today with the most heart rending tale of sexual abuse leveled against the former Penn State football coach as a soft-spoken high school grad recalled screaming for help in Sandusky's basement, but getting no response.
The courtroom was once again brought to tears today as the 18-year-old known as Victim 9 said that for four years Sandusky would come downstairs to the basement, drop his pants, and rape him and force him to perform oral sex.
"He started getting physical, like having me touch his penis and stuff," he said. "He made me give him a, suck his penis is how you'd put it. He came in my room, pulled his pants down, laid on top of me, and kind of forced it in. What was I going to do? I mean look at him, he's a big guy. He was bigger than me, at the time way bigger than me."
Victim 9 said he weighed less than 70 pounds at the time and was helpless when Sandusky allegedly came for him.
"There was no fighting against it," he said. "Sometimes (I'd) scream, sometimes tell him to get off me, but other than that, who was there? We were in the basement, no one could hear you down there. We were always down there."
When asked to point out his alleged assailant, Victim 9 pointed as Sandusky without looking at him.
"Can you look at him?" the prosecutor asked. "I don't want to look at him," the witness replied.
Victim 9 was the eighth and final alleged victim to testify about being molested in the case against Sandusky, who is charged with 52 counts of child sex abuse. If convicted of the charges, Sandusky, 68, could be sentenced to life in prison.
The man said that his abuse by Sandusky lasted until he was about 16, in the year 2009. The timeframe suggests that Sandusky may have continued to abuse boys while under investigation by a grand jury, since the investigation was launched in late 2008.
Victim 9 said his mother encouraged him to spend time with the coach and that he spent almost every weekend at Sandusky's house for three years, between 100 and 150 times, and the acts occurred "often."
The man said that around age 16 he refused to go over to Sandusky's house any more, but Sandusky called him once more in 2011 to ask him to "stick up for him" if anyone came to ask questions, he testified.
Upon cross-examination, the man admitted that he went on one more outing with Sandusky shortly before the coach's arrest to a football game in September 2011. He said that he wanted to take his friend, who had never been to a football game, to the Penn State stadium.
"The only reason I went that time was I had a friend with me, and my friend didn't like him anyway. If anything went down, my friend had my back," he said.
The cross-examination was also graphic as defense attorney Joseph Amendola asked the boy repeatedly whether he bled from the anal rape and whether his mother saw blood on his underwear. He calmly responded that he had bled, but his mother did not discover it on his underwear.
"I just dealt with it. I never told anybody, I didn't even tell my own mom," he said. "I just deal with things in my own way."
Victim 9 said he never told his mother or anyone until he spoke to police, and he only told prosecutor Joseph McGettigan the whole truth before his testimony today.
"How are you supposed to tell your mom something like that?" he said. "Who would believe you? He was an important guy, a football coach. Who would believe kids?"
The defense is expected to present its case on Monday, focused on portraying Sandusky as an overly-affectionate man with childlike tendencies. The prosecution said it had no further witnesses, though it did not officially rest its case.
Two other men told the court today how as young boys they were allegedly molested by Sandusky.
Victim 6, who is now 24, said that as a young boy growing up in State College, Pa., he idolized the Penn State football team and the day he got to try on football helmets and shoulder pads from the star players, ones that "were huge for me" was a thrilling day -- until Sandusky asked him to take a shower.
The man said that Sandusky bear-hugged him, tickled him, called himself the "tickle monster" and lifted him up in the shower saying he was going to "squeeze (the boy's) guts out."
The shower made him "uncomfortable," but the memory of what happened stopped there. The man, identified as Victim 6, said he "blacked out" when Sandusky lifted him up in the shower, and he could not remember exactly what happened next.
"Then he had his hands around my waist and lifted me up to the shower head to get the soap out of my hair. I believe my chest was to his chest," he said. "I don't think it was touching but I remember going into the shower head and having to close my eyes so soap wouldn't go in, and that's the last thing I remember about being in the shower. That's the best recollection I've got.
"I don't even remember being put down," he said. "Everything else is just blacked out. I don't remember any more."
The episode became the linchpin for the first criminal investigation of Sandusky as a child sex abuser, launched in 1998 when the man's mother called Penn State campus police to report that a staff member had been inappropriately showering with her son.
That investigation came close to an arrest for Sandusky, according to testimony by the lead investigator Ronald Scheffler, who worked as a criminal investigator for the university police. Scheffler said that he interviewed Sandusky about the incident, and Sandusky admitted that he had showered with many children. But Scheffler never followed up to see how many, what activities had gone on in the shower, or how old the children were.
Scheffler told McGettigan that he believed there was enough to charge Sandusky, but district attorney Ray Gricar decided not to prosecute.
It would be 10 more years, and at least half a dozen other alleged victims, until Sandusky would be investigated once again, finally resulting in 52 counts of child sex abuse.
The episode with Victim 6 was quickly pulled apart by Amendola, who noted that though Victim 6 said he did not remember what happened in the shower, he told Scheffler in the days immediately following the incident that he was sure Sandusky never touched him sexually or asked the boy to touch Sandusky sexually.
"I could sort of feel like he kissed me once or twice on the head, like you would kiss your child, you know what I mean," the boy said in the transcript.
"Like you would kiss a child," Amendola repeated.
Amendola stressed that Gricar, a veteran prosecutor, decided not press charges because there was no evidence of sexual abuse, to which Scheffler conceded the point. Gricar disappeared without a trace in 2005, and so could not shed light on why he decided not press charges against Sandusky in 1998.
Amendola also had Victim 6 read aloud text messages he sent to Sandusky as recently as 2009, wishing him a happy Father's Day and telling him on Thanksgiving that he was grateful God placed Sandusky in the boy's life. The man also visited with Sandusky as recently as summer, 2011, when he went out to lunch with him.
Another witness identified as Victim 3 said that in wrestling and tickling with Sandusky the coach would sometimes cause the boy when he was 12 to have an erection and that the coach would sometimes touch his penis. But Victim 3, now 25, also said how much he liked Sandusky and was disappointed when he was sent to a group home and had to break off contact with him.
"He made me feel like I was part of a family. He gave me things that I had never had before," Victim 3 said. When asked if he liked Sandusky, Victim 3 replied, "I loved him."