BELLEFONTE — A psychologist hired by Jerry Sandusky's defense team thinks he has a personality disorder that makes him overly emotional and feel hurt when someone doesn't show him the same sentiment.
But a psychiatrist hired by the prosecution scoffed at that diagnosis and said Sandusky doesn't have histrionic personality disorder but instead could suffer from a psychosexual disorder.
The two experts testified Tuesday after having evaluated Sandusky. Not surprisingly, the results aligned with the sides in the case.
Now it'll be up to jurors to weigh the results and determine whose opinion they'll value more.
The defense hired Elliot Atkins, of Marlton, N.J., to evaluate Sandusky for histrionic personality disorder in the hope of explaining why Sandusky wrote letters to one alleged victim that the 28-year-old man called "creepy love letters."
Among the indicators of the disorder, Atkins testified he found Sandusky to be someone who wants to be the center of attention, someone who behaves provocatively or in an inappropriately sexually seductive way, and someone who considers relationships more intimate than they are.
Atkins evaluated Sandusky for six hours in May, and he interviewed his wife, Dottie Sandusky, for an hour.
He also read statements of the alleged victims, discovery materials and the Sandusky autobiography, "Touched."
The book "absolutely" confirmed his diagnosis, he testified.
He said he hadn't read the letters until after the diagnosis.
"The letters made me feel more confident about my diagnosis," he said. "We look for as much evidence as possible to support our diagnoses."
It was obvious that prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III thought Atkins' diagnosis was bunk. He railed at Atkins on cross-examination, firing off a barrage of questions hoping to raise doubt about the diagnosis but was reined in by the judge for asking questions that went beyond the scope of the letters.
Atkins did say that Sandusky's behavior was "inappropriate" and caused him to be "viewed with suspicion," a reference to the charges for which he's on trial.
But when asked if Sandusky's behavior was consistent with a psychosexual disorder, he couldn't say for sure.
"There is no clear pattern or clear diagnosis of a psychosexual disorder without certain behaviors, and Mr. Sandusky denied the behaviors," Atkins told McGettigan.
The prosecution's expert, Philadelphia-area psychiatrist John O'Brien II, said the letters were misconstrued and appeared to him to be manipulative in nature.
He said Sandusky's involvement in multiple things wasn't common for someone with the disorder.
He also said one fact about Sandusky that he founded The Second Mile to help children shows he's selfless instead of attention-seeking, as Atkins had said about those who suffer from the disorder.
"I don't see anything in any of that information to suggest he was a person with a personality disorder that caused him any problems," O'Brien said.
O'Brien said one of the tests found Sandusky showed mild traits of histrionic personality disorder, but O'Brien said Sandusky wasn't straightforward with his responses and tried to put himself in "overly positive terms," so the results are skewed.
O'Brien also said he had only seen five or six cases of histrionic personality disorder since the mid-1980s while he has been practicing.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Karl Rominger, O'Brien said his diagnoses typically differed from Atkins' diagnoses.
The defense had called for Atkins to testify again after O'Brien's testimony, but that didn't happen for undisclosed reasons. It remained unclear if he would be called to testify again today.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT