Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thanks Mr. President

Dear President Obama,

Two years ago today, my mom passed away from colon cancer.  Her name was Laurel and she was a wonderful mother to me and my sister, a wonderful wife to my dad and wonderful friend to almost every one she met.   She voted for you, saying, “I like that young man”.  That sir was high praise indeed. 

I’m telling you about her because today the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act that you championed,  insuring that millions of Americans like my mom will get health care they need and can afford. 

You see, Mom didn’t seek medical care when she had some symptoms a full five years before diagnosis.  She simply couldn’t afford the co-pays and testing, even with Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance.  Co-pays for office visits with specialists were two hundred dollars, some treatments she needed weren’t covered at all and were out of pocket.  Near the end she and Dad were forced to move out of their home and move in with my sister and brother in law. 

As a retiree on fixed income, she waited until she had no choice.  Her doctors and surgeons did what they could, but time ran out. 

It is my fervent belief that the Affordable Care Act will help prevent people like my mom from waiting for care due to costs.  I hope that going forward even broader changes to health care can be enacted. 

For now I just want to say thank you.  Thanks for supporting this law helping out people who truly need it.   Thanks for helping  my daughters ages 11 and 5 grow up in a country that recognizes that providing care for our sick is the human and humane thing to do.

Somewhere my mom is happy that she voted for “that young man”. She was right about you.


Patrick Perion (@QuadCityPat)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sandusky's Victims, How Many Are There.

I've been approached by several people on Twitter and email asking for information about how many boys Jerry Sandusky actually molested.  I've also been asked about the age at which predators start preying on children.  We know that he was found guilty of sexually abusing and raping 10 boys.  There are a lot more.  

First some general statistics.  Latest national data on sexual abuse of children shows that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys report abuse.  Approximately 1 in 6 boys are actually abused.  We also know that in general serial sexual abusers abuse an average of 117 children.  Those are scary numbers.

In Sandusky's particular case, I suspect that he started the serial child rape when he was between 16 and 18.  This is a guess, but it's one educated by 18 years of dealing with the Jerry Sanduskys of the world.

Serial child rape as with adult rape is about power and control.  We know from the Sandusky trial that all of his victims were between the ages of 10 and 15.  Due to this it can be surmised that Sandusky was between 16 and 18 when the serial nature of his abuse started.  In order to gain power and control, at those ages predators are generally bigger and stronger than their prey.

I pointedly stated that the serial nature of his predation probably started when he was in his late teens.  It's entirely possible that his first sexual assault of someone else happened earlier in life.  I've dealt with predators that have stated that they first abused a younger child when they were 7 or 8.

It should also be pointed out that Sandusky may not have been the victim of child rape himself.  Prison studies of serial child rapists show that a higher percentage of convicted child rapists say they were severely physically abused as children.  Many of them were sexually assaulted, but in most major studies, they claim either sexual or physical abuse, hardly ever claiming both.

Later in life Sandusky used the Second Mile charity and his status at Penn State to cultivate his prey and keep them silent after he brutalized them.  Judging again by the trial records, he abused two boys a year.  Simple math shows that his total in fifty years would be a hundred boys.  However when you factor in the under reporting of male victims those two boys per year may have been as many as four or five. Making the total as high as two hundred to two hundred fifty.

In this case, bet the over.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sandusky: The Verdict

Wow, what a day.  Before I get to my final thoughts, I have a few thank yous.  First my wife Nicole and my girls, coming home to the three of you makes my job doable, I love the three of you more than I can say.  Adam Hoge at The Score for asking me to do this blog and his bosses for letting it happen.   Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers for promoting the blog during their show, and for putting up with me when I'm AKA Quad City Pat. Finally to you the Score listener, reader and commenter, I'm happy that I could shed some light on a dark corner of humanity for you.

Now my thoughts:

In child sexual abuse trials, there is really no substitute for hearing "guilty" as each charge is read.  The victims are vindicated, the abuser is brought to justice. The prosecution gloats a little.  The defense backpedals.  Everyone on the side of right feels good.

What happens now?

First and most importantly, every one of the victims must get into counseling to work through their issues.  Many already have, but they all need it.

At one point early in my career I had no idea what sexual trauma did to victims.  22 years ago, I was driving a female victim of sexual abuse in a stick shift pick up, to a visit with her family.  She was uncomfortable with sitting in the middle seat where the shifter was.  I thought she was being dramatic. I was an idiot.

I've quoted these stats before, 1 in 6 girls have been sexually abused. 1 in 10 boys.  Sexual abuse is horribly under reported.

Please educate your children.  If they have a secret, if someone tells them a "bad" secret, tell an adult.  If an adult asks them to do something that they think is icky tell another adult.

I don't know what will happen with Penn State and Sandusky.  There may be more charges.  There may be appeals.  There will be civil suits.  Frankly I don't care, these men came forward to tell the world about the unthinkable and they won. That's enough for now.

Sandusky Trial Day 9

Waiting sucks. That's what I have heard from every victim and every family that I've ever sat through a trial with.  

In most sex abuse cases that I have worked there is no trial.  There's a disclosure, there's a confession or enough corroboration that we need no confession.  The perp is charged.  They always plead not guilty at preliminary hearing, then the negotiations start.

The defense gets a copy of all of our evidence.  The advent and use of Children's Advocacy Centers has been invaluable in these cases, because we turn over the taped interviews as part of evidence.  The defense gets a look at a credible kid, and decides that they want to try for a plea deal.  Once in a while, they decide to take it to trial.

After overwhelming evidence is presented.  After victims give tearful heart wrenching testimony.  After people like myself get grilled on the stand because maybe we restated a victim's answer saying penis instead of wee wee.  After the closing arguments, charts, videos and timelines. After the judge reads the charges and the instructions, we wait.

Sometimes we wait for hours.  Sometimes its days.  Personal longest wait was 3 days.  Jury got the case on Friday, we got a verdict on Tuesday, they didn't work the weekend.  We won that one.  The shortest was 2 hours, we won that one too.  I had one a couple of years ago, multiple victims, unrelated to each other with varying degrees of abuse.  Seemed like a slam dunk.  Jury out for 6 hours on 12 counts.  Not guilty.  Turns out one of the jurors was a teacher, and she just "knew" that kids make things up.

You learn to force a smile in front of the families.  You never say you have a doubt. You always tell them that they did great.  You always  tell them not to worry.

You always tell them, waiting sucks....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 8

Thursday marked the closing arguments  of both prosecution and defense and the case being given to the jury.  The big news of the day happened outside the court house as two more victims came forward.  One of  them, Matt Sandusky, adopted son of Jerry and Dottie Sandusky.

I'll get to that in a moment but first a quick look at the closing arguments.

First the prosecution's which was particularly good. Reading excerpts reported by several outlets, it appears that Mr. McGettigan did his job to the best of his ability.  It will be hard for the jury to forget the faces of the 8 men shown on a 12 foot screen as boys.  That's the sort of thing that connects juries to the people who were victimized.  It humanizes the victims and they are no longer randomly titled "Victim 1 through 10".

In the many trials that I have been a part of, anything done with the big projection screen seems to have an impact.  I had a case a while back in which the defense used the projector and the prosecution did not.  The perp was found not guilty despite a mountain of evidence against him.  Juries are funny that way.

I'll say this for Joe Amendola, he really sells his side of the case.  His close hit all the points he made in the trial.  The one point he made that made me laugh was when he said that Sandusky didn't start being a pedophile until his 50's because all the alleged incidents started in the 1990's.  No, Joe, Sandusky didn't start in his 50's, no one before then has come forward. That"s a big distinction.

In the big news of the day, two more people came forward.  Travis Weaver, a 30 year old man came forward, has filed a civil suit and was interviewed on Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC.  The full interview is to be shown on Thursday night's show.

Matt Sandusky also came forward.  He was prepared to be a rebuttal witness if Jerry Sandusky took the stand.  Matt Sandusky, through his attorney issued a statement that he was a victim of molestation by Jerry Sandusky and was later adopted by the Sanduskys as an adult.

Several questions were tweeted and emailed to me today about why the prosecution did not use these  two witnesses.  First, if I am reading Pennsylvania law correctly, both of these men are beyond the statute of limitations.  Abuse that occurred under the age of 18 can only be prosecuted 10 years after the victim turns 18.

In Illinois the law is similar.  Victims outside the statute can be used for rebuttal in some instances, but because of bans on presenting prior bad acts as prejudicial, I have not seen any case in which they were allowed to testify.  Usually prior victims are used during sentencing to show patterns of behavior.

The other question that was posed today was why did Dottie Sandusky not notice behavior changes in her Foster Son and later Adopted Son, Matt.

The reason is tragic on many fronts.  Foster kids and adoptive kids make perfect victims for serial sexual abusers.  Foster kids and adopted kids especially those adopted later in life have a myriad of behavioral, mental and social problems.  Any unusual behavior by that child is chalked up to being a foster kid.  They become sullen, withdrawn, perhaps even act out sexually, and it's all chalked up to being a foster or adopted kid with attachment disorders.  Unless the kid makes a disclosure, these behaviors are almost always attributed to other factors.

The children he had living with him as foster and adoptive children are even more perfect prey than the boys with no father figure and no self esteem that he groomed through Second Mile.

This case is finally with the jury.  Unfortunately, no matter the verdict, the atrocities that Jerry Sandusky committed, will never go away.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 7

Wednesday, the defense in the Jerry Sandusky trial rested its case without having Sandusky take  the stand in his own defense.  This perplexed some, outraged others and caused an endless stream of columns today.  As SCORE  colleague, Dan Bernstein, wrote earlier, if you're planning your defense around a hail mary strategy.  You let the guy testify.

There are several possible reasons for Sandusky sitting this one out.  First let me say, that not having him testify completely defuses the argument that he has Histrionic Personality Disorder.  A man with this disorder is someone who loves to be  the center of attention.  He tells his attorney "I'm testifying",  period.

I've sat through dozens of trials of child sexual abusers, child murderers and child batterers.  There are no two alike.  I've seen cases in which the prosecution has a mountain of evidence, the defendant testifies, and is later acquitted.  I've seen cases where the defendant is ripped to shreds on the stand and is found guilty.  Trials in which the defendant doesn't testify happen all the time.  It can be disappointing but it's been common in the sexual abuse trials that I have been involved in.

In Sandusky's case, Jerry may just not be capable of testifying without sounding pathetic and creepy.  Attorney's spend hours upon hours prepping witnesses.  In a trial about allegations this horrible, the defense certainly does not want Sandusky to sound as creepy on the stand as he did in the already played tapes from NBC.

It's also entirely possible that Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger think that they've proved their case.  That these boys are making it up for money, that Mike McQueary was mistaken and not credible, that Jerry really is just a great guy who wants to help kids.

I think they're deluded.  Even their defense character witnesses helped the prosecution. A 21 year old, David  Hilton testified that spent many nights at Sandusky's home and was never molested.  He also testified that he spoke to police and prosecutors several times and was always told to just tell the truth and don't make anything up.  This completely destroys the case that the other boys made it up and were coached by police to embellish the abuse.

Their assault on McQueary's credibility really didn't accomplish anything either.  It did raise a question as to why he didn't report this to someone besides Joe Paterno.  Simply put mandated reporting only covers people who are directly working with children in a professional capacity.  If McQueary was a coach of high school kids, he'd be required to call.  Other people didn't report because there was no outcry from the victims until they were adults.  Sandusky's type of serial sexual abuse depends on victims slipping through the cracks.  Unfortunately that happens a lot more than you might suspect.

Closing arguments are set for tomorrow.  Don't be surprised if some charges are dropped or consolidated, again it happens all the time.  The closing statements both sides make will be very telling about where they think they stand with they jury.  No matter what's said, it'll be a fascinating day in Centre County

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sandusky Day 6.

Tuesday marked the second day of defense witnesses.  It was a veritable clown car of Penn State sycophants, Sandusky's friends and mental health professionals.  That's apropos because Joe Amendola is a clown. 

On the way to the court room this morning Amendola was asked about Sandusky testifying.  His response: "Stay tuned. It's like a soap opera. If I tell you, it takes all the excitement out of it." When asked which soap opera he said General Hospital, then quipped "All My Children."  In  the midst of trying to keep his client from jail, in the midst of horrific tales of abuse, he chose to crack wise.  I spoke to a couple of defense attorney friends today and they were mortified.  There's a certain decorum to trials and clearly Amendola doesn't care.  In fact his obsession with the limelight leads one to believe that he has histrionic personality disorder.  

Speaking of mental health, two experts testified today with varying opinions on whether Sandusky has histrionic personality disorder.  In my limited experience with such things, I would tend to agree with the second expert, Dr. Sebastion O'Brien.  He did not seem to think Jerry was suffering from this disorder.  My personal belief is that Sandusky's more of a sociopath.  Charming, friendly seemingly able to have relationships with people.  Again as discussed before, his charm and friendliness helped him woo his conquests. 

Three things really stood out today.  One was the tape from NBC in which Sandusky said "I didn't go seeking out every young person for sexual needs".  Technically true, but damning.  The ones he did seek out were the  weakest prey.  Kids he dealt with Second Mile who were not the poorest kids, or the kids with the least self esteem would be too hard to corral.  They'd be the ones most likely to report him to authorities sooner.  

The second big deal of the day was what was reported as "contradictory" testimony from the lead investigators.  While there was some discrepancy in the testimony, it was hardly fatal.  The defense tried to say  that the investigators told the witnesses what to say because they mentioned on tape to Victim 4 that "other boys" had said the "same things".  

I've interviewed thousands of kids.  When we do forensic interviews of child sexual abuse victims, it is occasionally necessary to tell the child that other people have come forward, other people have already told what happened.  When we are interviewing multiple victims of the same perpetrator, telling the child that other children have come forward, makes it easier for them to tell.  The idea is to get the kid talking to give a narrative of what happened.  I've used this technique with kids as young as 3 to get them talking.  Frankly as an investigator you use whatever you got.  I once got a kid talking because he thought I looked like John Goodman.   

The only real problem I had with the investigation was that I would have preferred  that the victims had been interviewed one on one in at a Children's Advocacy Center.  I realize that the victims are now adults, but giving a taped statement to one person in a safe place works for victims of all ages.  

The final big item was the testimony of Dottie Sandusky.  I literally started humming Stand by Your Man, when Dan Bernstein reported that she had taken the stand.  What's important for the prosecution is that she corroborated the Victims testimony that they had spent the night and that Sandusky had gone to "tuck them in" before bed.  Again like this entire defense, no one is refuting the testimony of the victims.  

Apparently they are leaving that for Sandusky who testifies tomorrow.  I for one can't wait to hear what the bastard has to say. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 5

Monday saw the prosecution call one last witness, then rest its case.  Time for Joe Amendola to defend the indefensible.   I wrote last week that Amendola had a bad day in opening arguments and his cross examination of the first witness, if anything Monday might have been worse.

We learned today from the testimony of Richard Anderson and Booker Brooks, both former Penn State coaches, that coaches frequently showered with boys. Per Anderson he showered with boys as young as 11 "at the YMCA, at Penn State at other places."  Brooks stated that he showered with coaches in high school.

First, what. the. hell?  Who does that? I played high school football, never ever once in a shower with a coach, and I went to a Catholic School!

Second, this testimony really worked in the prosecution's favor.  Even if the defense convinces the jury that all this wanton showering is pretty normal, the witnesses clearly delineated that they never engaged in the sexual abuse of those boys, nor did they engage in the wrestling, soaping and grabbing that good ol Jerry already admitted to. Simple question from the prosecution to the jury will be "if all this showering was common why did the victims identify only one man as the perpetrator?"

The other line of defense today was that Sandusky was just busy busy busy all the time with the Penn State program.  To busy to work out with his young Second Mile charges, too busy to have them over on weekends and rape them, just too damn busy.

Alas for the defense, this theory is so full of holes you could drive a tickle monster through it.  Most of the victims discussed abuse  that occurred after Sandusky "retired" from Penn State.

At the risk of sounding insensitive to the other victims, the most egregious rape happened six or seven years ago.  Victim 9 testified about anal rape and bloody underewear.  His mother testified about underwear that was always missing when he came home from Sandusky's rape room.  In 2006 he had plenty of time to take his prey under his wing and do with him what he wanted.

Victim 9's rape seems to have been far more frequent and aggressive than some of the other victim's , this suggests that the free time Sandusky had in retirement made it much easier for him to abuse boys.  If he was too busy to do all this while he was coaching, it reinforces the credibility of Victim 9 who was abused well after Sandusky stopped coaching.

One final bit. I wrote last week that serial child abusers like Sandusky are not acting, they just don't get that they did wrong.

As if to prove my point, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports reported today that at the lunch break, Sandusky was pouring over dates of Victim 9's testimony.  He determined that the kid really started having problems at school after Sandusky was no longer 'mentoring' him.  Sandusky even was heard saying : "See, that was after he was with me." 

Yeah Jerry, we all see it.  Too bad that even when you're locked up for the rest of your life, you'll never see what horror you've wrought.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 4: Just Make it Stop

Today marked the end of the prosecutions case, although they did not formally rest.  It was a day of intense and unsettling testimony.  It had many people who are following this case wondering how to just make all of this stop.

Victim 9 testified.  It was compelling and as predicted, the final witness was as strong as the first witness Victim  4.  Sources in the courtroom reported this from Victim 9 "What was I going to do? I mean look at him, he's a big guy. He was bigger than me, at the time way bigger than me."  This came after tearful descriptions of his abuse both orally and anally by Sandusky.  Victim 9 said he weighed less than 70 pounds at the time.
"There was no fighting against it," he said. "Sometimes (I'd) scream, sometimes tell him to get off me, but other than that, who was there? We were in the basement, no one could hear you down there. We were always down there." 
Frankly as disgusting and tragic as the testimony was, it was probably the best thing the prosecutor did in a week of really good things.  These are the lasting memories that the jury will have while watching the defense try to mount a case.   The prosecution is banking on the fact that the testimony of these victims is so overwhelming that the jury will convict Sandusky to make it stop.

Amendola is putting on a defense next week.  His job is to rehab his clients character.  We can expect a stream of tearful family and friends telling the jury what a great guy Jerry is.  People like Joyce Porter, who told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, "he's a saint, a wonderful guy".   This was troubling to a lot of people today.  What most people don't understand is that to people like Joyce, Sandusky is a wonderful guy.

Serial child sexual abusers are most often "wonderful" guys.  They are charming, smart and friendly.  They lure their victims with charm.  Think of it like this, if you've got a significant other, did you woo them with charm, humor and kindness?  For most of us the answer is yes.   Serial child sexual abusers use the same tools.  Once they have their prey, its about power and control, but the chase is the thing for a lot of these guys.   The charm  they use on their  victims is also employed in their daily life, making them seem like great guys to their friends and community.

This brings me to my final point, one which frankly may be off putting for a lot of people.  Today there was speculation about why Sandusky has not taken a plea, why he's put these men and the rest of us through this.

 I've seen this before and I can't say with 100 percent certainty about Sandusky, but a lot of serial child sexual abusers like to relive their old conquests.   I have been trials in which the defendant has become tumescent during testimony.  I've helped law enforcement get a confession here and there because while questioning the perp, he started rubbing his hand on the  table or his leg in  the same fashion he abused his victim.

While the rest of  the world is done with this entire mess,  Sandusky has no desire to 'just make it stop.'

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 3: Wondering Why?

On day 3 of the Sandusky trial the question "why?", has come up several times.

Media pundits were wondering why the prosecution isn't calling a Psychiatrist specializing in pedophiles to explain Sandusky's behavior.  Some people in social media were wondering why the victims didn't come forward sooner.  Finally defense attorney, Joe Amendola, questioned why Victim 7 wrote nice things about Sandusky in a Second Mile scholarship application; why Victim 10 returned to Second Mile camps after being abused and why Victim 5 changed the year of his abuse from 1998 to 2001.  

First off, I hesitate to call Sandusky a pedophile because that is a clinical definition and I'm not a clinician. Serial child sexual abuser serves the same purpose.  An "expert" in child sexual abuse could help, but could also be detrimental.  Sandusky's behavior was obvious grooming and that is very typical of most child sexual abusers.  However, if an expert is called to delineate that for the jury, they will also be asked questions from the defense like "Is grooming behavior present in 100 percent of sex abuse cases?"  " Is it possible that my client was just affectionate with his charges?"  These type of questions are used to foment doubt in that one juror they're trying to get to hang the jury.   Most jurors are smart enough that they don't need an expert to tell them that Sandusky was grooming, abusing and bribing victims.  

The defense continues to try to form a conspiracy theory around why the victims did not come forward sooner.  I've already commented on the emotional torture these victims go through but there are other reasons not to come forward.  According to their testimony, some of these young men were threatened. Victim 10, a foster child at the time of the abuse, said that he was threatened with never seeing his family again.  This is powerful and scary stuff to a young kid.  Especially a foster child.  Foster children pretty much feel like everything bad in their lives is their fault.  Pretty easy for someone as slick as Sandusky to prey on that.  Other victims have said, they wanted to keep going to games, they wanted to keep getting things, they didn't want to get in trouble etc.  

As to why he returned to camps after the abuse? At camp he was never really alone with Sandusky.  In his world, camp was a hell of a lot safer than Sandusky's car, house or office. Plus camps in general are fun. 11 or 12 year old kids seldom apply the logic of adults to their decision making. 

Victim 7 testified and was cross examined.  According to reporters in the court room, Amendola made "some headway" with his cross of Victim 7.  Victim 7 admitted that he wrote wrote "Jerry Sandusky, he has changed my perceptions on life in a positive way"; "Jerry Sandusky, he has changed my perceptions on life in a positive way"; and "Jerry Sandusky, he has helped me understand so much about myself. He is such a kind and caring gentleman and I will never ever forget him" on a scholarship application. 

This is not the bombshell it appears to be at first glance.  Child sexual abusers can display good qualities and be "nice" (a relative term) to children.  Its part of their game of grooming victims, be nice, play nice etc.  Victims can and frequently do compartmentalize their abuse.  Their abusive relationship is just one facet.  In their minds, the gifts, going to games, trips and the like are all too good to pass up.  Since this kid was applying for a scholarship, of course he's going to write nice things about a guy who in some way did help him.  

Victim 5's testimony was fairly brief.  The cross examination was short as well.  Amendola was concerned that Victim 5 changed the year of abuse from 1998 to 2001.  Victim 5 stated simply and I think truthfully that he matched up the calendar year with his school grade after testifying in the Grand Jury.  Again, nothing here that will derail the case.  

These first three days have been riveting.  I'm curious to see who the prosecution closes with.  They started with a strong witness.  My guess is that the final witness will be just as strong.  At the end of their case, the prosecution doesn't want anyone on the jury asking 'why?'

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Money Money Money: Sandusky Trial Day 2

Brief post  tonight, but there's a couple of things that just need to be addressed.

The defense that these victims are in it for the money is ridiculous.  There are many opportunists in this world.  There are always scam artists looking for a buck.  Here's the problem, when was the last time you knew someone who faked sexual abuse for fun and profit?  When was the last time 10 men you knew faked sexual abuse to roll in a bed of money?  It just doesn't happen.

Statistics show that 1 in 10 boys are sexually abused, but due to the stigma of reporting, that number is probably closer to 1 in 6.  I won't go into the shame of abuse and the horror of reporting in this post. Suffice it to say, in my years of doing this, its been a lot harder to get boys to talk about what happened.

The second point I want to address tonight, is the breakdown of Victim 1 on the stand and his admission that he may have said different things in the grand jury testimony.  If I had a nickel for every kid whose story evolved over time, I wouldn't still be working for the state.

The fact is that victims are human, horribly beaten down humans.  Victim 1 was the kid whose guidance counselor didn't believe him.  Memory is imperfect.  Sometimes kids say things happened once or twice, and those things happened many more times.  Its tragic that they have to relive it in trial, but at least Victim 1 was strong enough to be on the stand.

This trial is an ugly business, it is not going to get better.  For whatever reason, Sandusky has decided to take this to the end.  Here's hoping his end is in a State Penitentiary for the rest of his miserable life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Say It Aint So Joe! Sandusky Trial day 1.

Today marked day one of the trial of Jerry Sandusky.  His attorney, Joe Amendola, had what could charitably be called a bad day.  Starting with opening arguments and sinking from there, Joe just doesn't seem up to the title of Best Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania.

Here's a few thoughts about the day.

Amendola opened with typical defense attorney tactics.  In this case, they were complete nonsense.  "If my client did this why did four adults not come forward?" "This case will show that these so called victims have a financial stake in this" Amendola might as well have led with "If my client is a liar, why are his pants not on fire?" (thanks to Tim Baffoe AKA @ten_foot_midget on twitter for that line).

One of the oldest ploys in the book is to blame the victims. In this case, Amendola and by extension Sandusky are blaming the victims "financial stake" as their reason for coming forward.  In the 18 years that I have been investigating child abuse and child sexual abuse, I have heard a riff on this hundreds of times.  It's a pet peeve for myself and anybody who does this work.

Occasionally there are cases in which child abuse and child sexual abuse allegations are made for some gain.  Those cases usually involve custody battles.  In cases where a group of victims comes forward against an authority figure, the chances that they are making up something for any gain, are extremely low.  When kids try to get someone in trouble, they don't say they were sexually abused, the say someone hit me, lied about me, etc.

The key here is that the victims were boys and now are men.  There is no amount of financial recompense that can assuage the stigma of being a male survivor of sexual abuse.  The guilt, fear, and self loathing are abysmal. These men would not be making up facts about being abused sexually if it didn't happen. Period.

Given that all of these victims were recruited through Second Mile, if they wanted to make money, they could write a book about how great Jerry was in saving them.  A lot easier to make money singing the praises of a savior than it is to get money making up false sex allegations.

I'd also like to briefly discuss Sandusky's demeanor.  Today, people mused that he must be the best actor in the world, or he just doesn't get it.

Again, calling on years of experience, my gut says the latter is true.  The experiences that me and my fellow investigators have had clearly show that the hard core abusers, just don't get it.  Sandusky is incapable of believing that what he did was wrong.  His particular paraphelia is such that as long as he "loves" his victims he is never wrong.

Having said all this, a word of caution.  A good first day does not  conviction make. Unfortunately, bad guys go free because of one stupid juror.

I'll continue to add opinions as the trial progresses.  For those who find this whole thing disgusting, welcome to my world.