The prosecution in Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse trial finished their case against the former Penn State assistant football coach Thursday with the ninth alleged victim, who said he never told anyone about the three years of abuse he allegedly suffered because he thought no one would believe him. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.
Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET: The final prosecution witness in the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky testified Thursday that Sandusky forcibly raped him on several occasions.
The testimony came on the fourth day of Sandusky's trial on 52 counts alleging that he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years. Two grand jury reports accused him of having used his connection to one of the nation's premier college football programs to "groom" the boys, whom he met through his Second Mile charity for troubled children, for sexual relationships. Sandusky has pleaded not guilty.
The 18-year-old man, identified in the indictment as "Victim 9," testified that he cried out for help as Sandusky raped him in the basement of the Sandusky home, but no one came to his assistance. He said he believed that the basement was soundproofed and that Sandusky's wife, Dottie, couldn't hear his pleas.
It was the most graphic and dramatic testimony so far at the trial in Bellefonte, Pa. Afterward, Judge John Cleland announced that the prosecution had concluded its case and that the defense would begin Monday after a three-day break.
The man said he stayed overnight at Sandusky's house between 50 and 100 times. He said Sandusky began forcibly raping him beginning when he was "maybe 13."
The 18-year-old known as 'Victim 9' told the court about a pattern of sexual assaults over three years that he allegedly endured in the basement of Jerry Sandusky's home. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports from Bellefonte, Pa.
On some occasions, he said, the assaults were so forceful that he would bleed from his anus. He said he didn't seek medical attention; instead, "I just dealt with it."
"What was I going to do? I mean, he was a big guy," the man said. "He was bigger than me at the time, way bigger than me."
The man said he told no one about the abuse — even police when they began investigating — because he thought no one would believe him.
"He's an important guy — he's a football coach," he said. "Who would believe kids?"
On cross-examination, the man acknowledged that despite the "horrible" things Sandusky did to him, he continued to accept tickets to Penn State football games from the defendant as recently as last November. He said he did so "because I had a friend with me" who "had my back at the time."
The man's testimony was the most disturbing of that of all eight of the alleged victims who agreed to testify at Sandusky's trial.
Previous witnesses testified that Sandusky engaged in oral sex and groped their genitals, and another witness, former Penn State assistant coach Michael McQueary, testified that he saw Sandusky engaging in sex with a young boy in a Penn State shower. But none of the previous witnesses has described the sexual relation as having occurred under extreme force.
Defense attorney Joseph Amendola, as he has with most of the other alleged victims, closely questioned the man on precise details about what allegedly happened and when, part of a strategy to raise questions about whether the accusers — some of whom have sued the university or have said they plan to sue Sandusky — are making up their stories for financial gain.
Penn State accused of slowing investigation
Earlier Thursday, Anthony Sassano, an investigator with the state attorney general's office, testified that Penn State dragged its heels numerous times on cooperating with the investigation, requiring investigators to seek search warrants and to subpoena the names of university employees.
"Penn State, to be quite frank, was not very fast on getting us the information," he said in the latest of several accounts jurors have heard that suggested that university administrators and local prosecutors knew about Sandusky's alleged pedophilia for many years but chose not to take action.
Ronald Schreffler, who as a Penn State police investigator began investigating Sandusky in the late 1990s, also testified that he believed Sandusky was allowed to get away with his alleged behavior for far too many years, saying Sandusky should have faced criminal charges as long as 14 years ago.
Schreffler, who now works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, testified that when he and youth services officials recommended that Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar bring criminal charges, Gricar declined. The decision by Gricar — who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 2005 and has been declared dead — remains one of the central mysteries of the Sandusky investigation.
'Jer' needs a 'best friend'
Some of the most bizarre evidence of the entire trial also emerged Thursday, including a "short story" Sandusky wrote that described his relationship with a boy who apparently attended his camps, which was found in one of the boxes at Penn State.
In the story, which was read aloud in court, Sandusky refers to himself in the third person as "Jer" and to the boy by his first name. Although Sandusky's alleged victims are being identified by name in court, NBC News and msnbc.com do not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults and have replaced the young man's name with (X).
"I'm Jerry. (X) is a young man who came into Jer's life," the story reads.
Later, telling how "Jer" was distressed that the boy had broken off the relationship, the story continues:
"'Tell me another story, Jer,' has been replaced with 'I don't care.' This cloud has destroyed soccer and hockey, choked smiles and laughter. There is fear that has reached his inside and killed his feelings. ...
"Jer might not be worthy, but he needs a 'best friend.'"
The trial, which opened Monday in Centre County Court, follows months of intense coverage of the case that led to the firing of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, a college football legend who won more games than any other major college coach in history. Sandusky, who was at his side for many of those victories, was for many years presumed to be Paterno's heir apparent.
Paterno died in January, a few weeks after the Penn State Board of Trustees dismissed him for not having done enough to stop Sandusky's alleged abuse.
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