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Prosecutor Says Sandusky Cultivated Boys, Defense Calls Case Flimsy

In his opening statement at the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky this morning, the prosecutor accused Sandusky of "cultivating" young boys over many years for his alleged "serial predatory behavior," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.

The alleged sexual abuse, Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan told jurors, took place "not over days, not over weeks, not over months, but over years" The Patriot-News adds.

Meanwhile, Sandusky's attorney told jurors that the young men who will testify against his client are accusers — not victims — who in some cases have financial interests in the outcome of the case, the Associated Press reports. Defense attorney Joe Amendola said the prosecution's case is flimsy, AP adds.

Sandusky, 68, has pleaded innocent to 52 criminal counts alleging that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years. According to The Associated Press, "Sandusky hunched slightly in his seat at the defense table as [Judge John] Cleland outlined the charges to the jurors. He looked pale and blinked a lot, then he looked away after McGettigan referenced an alleged 2001 attack in a Penn State shower."

As we've written before: "Sandusky's arrest last fall and the scandal that followed cost legendary head coach Joe Paterno and the university's president their jobs. They allegedly didn't do enough to alert authorities to what Sandusky reportedly did. Two high-ranking university officials have been charged with lying to a grand jury about what they knew. They have also pleaded innocent."

If you'd like a recap of the story, there's no better authority than Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News. She broke the story and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work. In this video, Ganim offers a 2-minute summary in this video.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.