Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Testimony in Sandusky Trial Paints Uphill Climb for Coach?

This week the Jerry Sandusky trial got underway with testimony by the prosecutions’ witnesses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. So far there have been multiple victims’ testimony, including the testimony of former Penn State assistant coach Michael McQueary, and that of McQueary’s father, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

Each victim has depicted graphic scenes of abuse by the Sandusky that occurred in his home, hotel rooms, and in the Penn State locker rooms, according to NBC10. Some of the victims say that the coach threatened them after the events, saying that the victim would never see his family again if he told, reports NBC10.

The issue for Sandusky is that he needs to cast reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds about this testimony.

Beyond a reasonable doubt, it's one of those phrases that sounds confusing and legal, but is an example of one of the few legal terms that is as simple as it sounds. What it means is that every element of a crime must be proven fully, to the point where an average person would not doubt that the event happened.

In this case, one of the charges is "rape of a child," which requires the state to prove only that there was sexual intercourse with a person younger than 13 years old. This charge does not have the defense that other sexual assault charges have of consent, because the statute does not mention "nonconsensual" when describing the illegal action.

What this means is that Sandusky and his attorneys must either prove that Sandusky was elsewhere when the assaults happened, or they must create doubt regarding the stories of all of the victims and other witnesses. The defense can cast doubt by challenging the motivation of the victims or witnesses to come forward and bring this case.

It is looking like Sandusky has an uphill battle, almost Sisyphean, in trying to prove an ill motive for each one of the victims strong enough to create reasonable doubt.

Once the prosecution rests its case, the defense will have its chance to present Jerry Sandusky's side of the story, and it is rumored that he will take the stand in his own defense.

Check back as the trial continues for more legal insight into the case.

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