BELLEFONTE — Four of the men who testified that Jerry Sandusky sexually abused them were in the courtroom Thursday as prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III mocked the defense’s “grand conspiracy theory” that they lied to see a big payday.
Alleged victim No. 4, in a white shirt, nodded in agreement when McGettigan told the jurors that the defense can lead a witness into an answer in a cross-examination.
In another moment, the mother of alleged victim No. 1 patted her son’s shoulder in comfort.
The four young men — alleged victims No. 1, 4, 6, and 8 — were in the first two rows of the courtroom as they heard a calm, sometimes folksy McGettigan give his closing arguments.
McGettigan told the jurors that the testimony shows Sandusky was a “serial predatory pedophile.”
“It’s about those boys,” McGettigan said, pointing to pictures of eight boys who now range in ages from 18 to 28.
As worked up as McGettigan had been during the testimony phase, including berating a defense psychologist, he was just the opposite for his last chance to convince the jury of his case. He spoke in a soft, sometimes inaudible voice. He sometimes used notes he’d prepared and at times leaned back on the wooden gate in front of the jury box.
But McGettigan became more animated at the very end of his hourlong argument, walking from the jury box to stand behind Sandusky, saying no one could give the young men back the “pieces of their souls” that the abuse took from them.
“He molested and abused and hurt these children horribly. He knows he did it, and you know he did it. Find him guilty of everything,” McGettigan said as he pointed his finger at Sandusky and looked straight on at the jury.
McGettigan reminded the jury of what he had told them in his opening last week — that the defense would admit what it must, deny what it could, call people liars, make counter charges and allege a conspiracy.
In mocking the defense’s conspiracy theory — that the young men, investigators and others involved got together to allege the abuse — McGettigan said the allegations span back years and would have to mean the people involved all knew other.
“It’s not about conspiracies, it’s not about time-traveling conspiracies, it’s not about people seeking fame, fortune or money,” McGettigan said.
“If you conclude there’s a conspiracy then somebody bring the handcuffs for me,” he said.
McGettigan pointed out that defense attorney Joe Amendola never asked the alleged victims on cross-examination questions specifically about the sex acts, instead questioning the witnesses about dates, places and times.
Sandusky sometimes smiled during the argument. He smirked once when McGettigan said Sandusky was seen driving around a parking lot late at night after a janitor allegedly saw him abusing a boy in 2000. The prosecutor said Sandusky was worried that someone was going to “blow the whistle on him.”
McGettigan also threw his support behind the state police investigators Amendola blasted in his closing arguments.
And McGettigan said that even though Mike McQueary didn’t call police after the incident in 2001, “he’s met the mark on everything since,” saying McQueary has “stood up to the criticism” and “hasn’t revised history.”
Tom Kline, the civil attorney for alleged victim No. 5, said he thought the jury looked “dispassionate” during the closing arguments.
None of the jurors appeared emotional, but they looked focused on the attorneys speaking and some took notes.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT