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How not to cross-examine a witness

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sandusky

Jerry Sandusky, arriving at court.

He was a trailer-park kid, the son of a mom who worked in a bar and a dad who was never around, just the kind of project Jerry Sandusky’s Second Mile charity was supposed to help. A patch covering his right eye due to a medical procedure made him seem broken and even more vulnerable

And here he was, through a low, occasionally cracking voice, telling a crowded Centre County Courtroom how when he was a young teen he’d stay in Sandusky’s basement on weekends. That’s when the former Penn State defensive coordinator would routinely come down at night and force him to perform oral sex.

“What was I going to do?” the witness, known in court documents as Victim No. 9, said. “Look at him, he’s a big guy, bigger than me. Way bigger than me.”

The boy only kept returning to Sandusky’s home because his mother, thinking he needed a male role model, insisted he do so. Soon the sessions occasionally included sodomy, and he couldn’t stop those attacks, either.

“I just went with it,” he said. “There was no fighting against it. … Sometimes [I’d] scream. Sometimes tell him to get off of me. But other than that, he was there, you were in a basement, no one can hear you down there.”

“Did you ever bleed?” Sandusky’s defense attorney, Joe Amendola asked later on cross-examination.

“Yes,” the witness said, in a chilling tone so matter-of-fact it was heartbreaking. “I just dealt with it. I have a different way of coping with things.”

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