BELLEFONTE, Pa. -– Two witnesses described sharing communal showers with young boys as something "very common" that is done "all the time" when the defense team for Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach accused of assaulting multiple young boys, began its case Monday.
The first witness, former Penn State assistant coach Dick Anderson, testified that he worked with Sandusky for about 30 years. While Anderson spoke to his friend's "wonderful" reputation, he also made key revelations during cross-examination by prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III.
Asked if he ever saw Sandusky shower with boys, Anderson said, "Yes. I have also."
McGettigan appeared momentarily taken aback by the answer. After a brief pause, he followed up the question with, "Eleven-year-olds?" Anderson replied, "Yes."
"I do it all the time,” Anderson added. "There are regularly young boys at the YMCA showering at the same time that there are older people showering."
While he confirmed he had showered with young boys, Anderson said he never hugged or touched them while doing so.
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Former Penn State assistant coach Booker Brooks, who worked as a coach from 1968 to 1983, also testified that showering with youngsters was not unusual.
"Have you ever showered with young kids?" defense attorney Joseph Amendola asked.
"Many times," Brooks replied.
Like Anderson, Brooks showered with children at the YMCA. The practice is, "very common all over the country," he said.
Outside the courtroom, David La Torre, a spokesman for Penn State University, declined to discuss the testimony from the former coaches. "In deference to the legal process, the university will not comment on specifics of the ongoing legal case as it unfolds," La Torre told The Huffington Post.
Sandusky, 68, faces 51 criminal counts related to the alleged assaults of 10 boys over a 15-year period. The allegations led to the ouster of the Penn State University president and the longtime coach Joe Paterno, and prompted prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III to refer to Sandusky as a "serial predator." Sandusky maintains his innocence and his attorney has suggested his accusers may have ulterior motives.
David Pasquinelli, a State College political consultant who worked on Second Mile fundraisers, also was called by the defense to talk about his personal relationship with Sandusky who he said had a great reputation, said Pasquinelli.
In regard to the ex-coach's relationship with children, Pasquinelli said, "I saw a lot of goofing around with the kids."
Brett Witmer, a second-grade teacher in the Bellefonte school district who interned with Second Mile and knew Accuser 4, said he has known Sandusky since 1999. "Jerry certainly seemed to be an important part of [his] life," Witmer said.
Sandusky's interest in Accuser 4, "seemed like a genuine case of, interested in that the kid was doing well and going in the right direction," said Wittmer.
Judge John M. Cleland adjourned early due to "technical issues" with upcoming witnesses and said he expects the defense to rest Wednesday afternoon. Closing arguments would then follow Thursday.
The jury will be sequestered in a local hotel during deliberations, said Cleland.
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