Jerry Sandusky trial: To boost 'alternative story,' should he take the stand?
The defense opened its case Monday with two former Penn State assistant football coaches who both described Sandusky’s behavior involving children as typical in youth athletics, where the mentoring relationship between coaches and young athletes often involves long, exhaustive days and close contact on and off the field.
Richard Anderson, a Sandusky colleague for about 20 years, testified to the strength of Sandusky’s positive reputation in the community and that “it was not uncommon” that the showering between Sandusky and his alleged victims took place “on occasion” when other coaches were in and out of the locker room. Under cross-examination, Mr. Anderson said he was not aware that Penn State prohibited boys from entering athletic department showers starting in 2001.
Another Sandusky colleague, Booker Brooks, said mutual showering in sports culture between adults and children is a “very common thing.”
The defense is also expected to rely on testimony from Dr. John O’Brien, a Philadelphia psychiatrist, who will say Sandusky suffers from histrionic personality disorder, which can create a heightened need for attention and an overly sexual or seductive appearance. Dr. O’Brien, who is known in the area for providing expert testimony in many high-profile cases over past years, conducted a two-hour evaluation of Sandusky over the weekend.
The O’Brien testimony will allow prosecutors to solicit counter testimony from other behavioral science experts, who will likely reject the connection between the diagnosis and the behavior alleged in the case.
Dr. Liza Gold, a psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, told ABC News Monday “there is no association” between the disorder “and any type of child sexual abuse of any kind.”