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Jerry Sandusky Trial: Defense Calls Accused Coach A 'Wonderful Man'

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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., on June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., on June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Update 5:15 p.m. -- During afternoon testimony, the defense called the neighbor of accuser #1’s mother to the stand. The witness said that, contrary to previous testimony, the accuser’s mother told him that she stood to make a lot of money off of Sandusky.

"I'll own his house,” she reportedly said in 2008, referring to Sandusky.

The defense then called on Dr. Elliot Atkins, who said he confirmed his earlier diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder after reading Sandusky’s letters and book as well as conducting a six-hour interview with the defendant.

This "made me feel more confident about my diagnosis,” he said. “Absolutely confirmed, in my mind, this diagnosis."

The condition is characterized by excessive emotions, attention seeking and inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior, according to Atkins.

Stay with HuffPost for more updates, including testimony from Dottie Sandusky, the defendant’s wife.

Update 2:07 p.m. -- Prior to breaking for lunch, Sandusky’s defense team played an April 21, 2011, police interview recording in which Cpl. Joseph Leiter, who testified earlier for the prosecution, assured Sandusky Accuser #4 that he was one in a series of victims. The defense played the tape in an attempt to rebut Leiter’s previous claim that he had never discussed other allegations with the accusers.

“You are not alone in this,” Leiter is heard saying. “There is actual oral sex that has taken place, by both parties. I don't want you to feel ashamed because you are a victim in this whole thing."

It remains unclear whether Sandusky will take the stand in his own defense.

"You have to wait," defense attorney Joe Amendola told reporters earlier in the day, according to CNN.

Original Story -- BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A parade of witnesses Tuesday morning testified to the integrity of Jerry Sandusky, characterizing the alleged child molester as a "wonderful man" and respected "father figure" to the young people he mentored.

Tenessa Anne Inpoofe, who said she met Sandusky 17 years ago through his Second Mile charity, was the first of several friends and associates who took the stand to defend the former Pennsylvania State University football coach.

"He was a very respected man in the community by helping the children in the Second Mile and for all the other activities he's done with the kids," Inpoofe said.

Another former Second Mile participant, Joshua Green of Milesburg, said he has known Sandusky since the early 1990s and described him as a law-abiding citizen.

Megan Lynn Rash, a pregnant 25-year-old from Milesburg, echoed the statements of the witnesses before her. She also shared her opinion of Accuser #4 -- a person she asserted she has known for about 18 years.

"He was a dishonest person and embellished stories," Rash said.

On June 11, Accuser #4, now 28, had testified that he was about 14 when Sandusky allegedly had him perform oral sex on the coach while the two showered together. "It would have to be 40 times, at least," he said.

(Story continues below.)

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After Rash came Joyce Porter, a friend of Sandusky's wife, Dottie. Porter testifed, "All the people I know who know Jerry think he is a wonderful man."

Phil Mohr, a retired affiliate professor of microbiology at Penn State, agreed. Mohr testified that he has known the ex-coach for about 35 years and described Sandusky's reputation as "wonderful." Another former professor, Jack Willenbrock, said Sandusky is a "father figure and is also respected for what he did professionally."

The defense then took a break from Second Mile participants and Sandusky's professional associates to call Pennsylvania State Police trooper Scott S.C. Rossman to the stand. A 13-year veteran of the force, Rossman said he had been a lead investigator on the case since May or June of 2009 and interviewed many of the accusers.

Rossman said the accusers he interviewed initially told him that nothing had happened or that what had happened was minimal. He testified that after those first interviews, the young men became more comfortable talking with police.

Cpl. Joseph Leiter, a police officer for 26 years, was next to testify. Like Rossman, Leiter said that some of the accusers were initially not open about discussing their relationship with Sandusky.

The defendant was then described as a great guy by Lance Mehl, a former linebacker for the New York Jets who said he has known Sandusky for about 15 years.

"We all looked up to him. He was a class A," Mehl said.

The last two witnesses to testify before the first recess of the day were John Wetzler, a retired social studies teacher who said he has known Sandusky for more than 25 years, and Kelly Simco, a 28-year-old woman who has known him for 20 years.

"Thanks to Jerry, half my [college] tuition was paid," Simco said. She also said she still hears positive things about Sandusky despite the charges he faces. "Even through yesterday ... there is none better."

The former Penn State assistant coach is accused of sexually abusing multiple young boys over a 15-year period.

(Check back for the updates.)

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