BELLEFONTE - Jerry Sandusky's attorneys attempted Monday to dispel the prosecution's contention that their client was a serial child abuser.
They presented witnesses who portrayed Sandusky as the hardworking football coach who raised millions for The Second Mile charity and was devoted to helping at-risk children.
Sandusky "had a great reputation. He had a wonderful reputation in the community, and he was well-thought of," former coach Dick Anderson testified in Centre County Court.
The Associated Press
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte on Monday.
He was called as a witness by Sandusky attorneys Joseph Amendola and Karl Rominger to give reputation testimony.
Anderson played football at Penn State with Sandusky in the early 1960s, and like Sandusky, became an assistant under legendary head coach Joe Paterno. He coached 33 years under Paterno with a six-year interlude when he was head coach at Rutgers University.
Amendola also asked Anderson about the schedule Sandusky kept as he worked as Paterno's defensive coordinator.
During the season, Anderson, Sandusky and the other coaches would spent up to 17 hours a day on the job - a "very tedious time," Anderson said.
Beginning Sundays after a game, coaches worked day and night, at least until Thursdays when the pressure of game day eased off. The offseason was spent recruiting, often traveling a week at a time, he said. Preparing for spring practice took a great deal of time as did attendance at clinics, banquets and other meetings.
Sandusky, because of his national reputation, "did a lot of stuff," Anderson said.
Anderson was asked about Sandusky's long work hours to counter prosecution testimony last week from many of his accusers who, as Second Mile children, said they stayed weekends at Sandusky's College Township home, went to the gym with him and played racquetball, basketball, golf and other sports.
Sandusky was "committed and worked hard," while also spending a great deal of time with The Second Mile and its children, Anderson said. Sandusky started The Second Mile in 1977 and retired in 1998 as a coach to devote his time to the organization.
Amendola called other reputation witnesses, including former assistant coach Booker T. Brooks Jr., fundraiser David Pasquinelli and former Second Mile participant and Army veteran Clint Mettlar, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brooks, whose career included coaching stints at Oregon State and Minnesota, said Sandusky was well-known in the coaching community and his reputation was "exemplary, top-notch."
Brooks was called to the stand for another purpose: to tell the jurors that taking showers with children was not all that unusual in gyms.
Many of the accusers testified that Sandusky abused them in the showers after workouts at Penn State's Holuba Hall and the Lasch Football Building.
When he was growing up in Akron, Ohio, Brooks said he remembered showering with adults. As an adult now, he showers with his grandchildren, and he pointed out it is not unusual in places like YMCAs for adults to shower while children are present.
He got a laugh from the packed courtroom when Amendola asked Brooks if he is naked when showering.
"I've never showered with any type of clothes on," Brooks replied.
People in the community "spoke highly of him [Sandusky]," Mettlar said.
Pasquinelli said he worked with Sandusky to raise $11 million for The Second Mile.
"I chose to take the position because it was a good cause," Pasquinelli said.
Sandusky not only had a good reputation, but also "was a local hero," he said.
Sandusky was good at getting to the level of the children and being able to communicate with them, Pasquinelli said.
The defense began its case late Monday morning after Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan presented one last prosecution witness - the mother of Victim 9.
Victim 9 testified last week that Sandusky regularly committed anal sex on him when he stayed at Sandusky's house.
The boy said the sex with Sandusky caused him to bleed and made him ill.
The mother, who said her son never told her what Sandusky did to him, said she could never understand why the boy's underwear was not in the wash.
The boy had testified last week that he "took care" of the bloody underwear, unknown to his mother.
At one point when her son was involved with Sandusky, "he had a lot of stomach problems. He was sick a lot. He had behavior issues. His sleep patterns were different," the mother said.
The mother said she never objected to Sandusky taking her son to his home or to the gym.
She said she thought it was "great." After all, "he was a very important person."
"Do you feel responsible [for what Sandusky did]," McGettigan asked her.
"Yes, I do," explaining tearfully that she made her son go with Sandusky.
Senior Judge John Cleland said that the defense is expected to end its case Wednesday morning, and he told jurors the case could be in their hands by Thursday. The jury will be sequestered in a hotel when deliberations begin, Cleland said.
As the trial adjourned Monday, two attorneys who have been attending the proceedings daily, Tom Kline of Philadelphia and Wes Oliver of the Widener School of Law said they weren't impressed by the defense case.
Kline, who represents Victim 5 in the Sandusky case, said it was already known that Sandusky had a good reputation before he was arrested.
The defense witnesses did little "to move the ball" on Sandusky's behalf, Kline said.
Oliver called the defense "essentially garden variety testimony as to character."
The prosecution withdrew a charge of misdemeanor indecent assault against Sandusky, because the statute of limitations had run out.
The charge, involving Victim 7, will not change the complexion of the case, Oliver said, noting Sandusky still faces a charge of unlawful contact with a child with respect to Victim 7, a much more serious offense than indecent assault.
It leaves 51 charges against Sandusky.
Today's testimony could include witnesses to show Sandusky has a mental health problem called histrionic personality disorder. Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, might also take the stand.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.