The trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky kicked-off today at the Centre County Courthouse where opening statements were given on his alleged 52 counts of child sexual abuse. While the defense isn’t quite pushing for an insanity plea, they are suggesting that Sandusky suffers from a mental disorder, removing him from some or all of the responsibility of his actions.
The defense pulled out the love letters that Sandusky sent to “Victim Four”, and promised to “provide a fair explanation” for the alleged love notes. Their motion to explain them will count on a psychologist, who will prove that “the content and nature” of the letters fit someone afflicted with Histrionic Personality Disorder.
The lawyers stated that they, “will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder,” according to their documents. According to the National Institutes of Health, the disorder that Sandusky allegedly suffers from is a condition in which “people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves.”
“The goal of a person suffering from this disorder in writing those letters would not necessarily be to groom or sexually consummate a relationship in a criminal manner, but rather to satisfy the needs of a psyche belabored by the needs of such a disorder,” said the lawyers in their motion.
The defense also maintains that “a lot of people lied,” when they suggested Sandusky had sexually abused them. He also pointed out that several of Sandusky’s alleged victims have hired civil attorneys, which he says is unusual. Others had made claims based on the possibility of walking away with some money, according to the defense.
The prosecution also got their case rolling, but seem to be biding their time, rather than pulling out wild accusations right off the bat. “You’ll hear about systematic behavior by a serial predator. These were experiences that took place not over days, not over weeks, not over months … but over years,” they said. Their case is going to be slow, complex, layered, and in their eyes, absolutely incriminating.
Still, the defense isn’t going for it. “One of the keys to this case, one of the keys to your perception … is to wait until all the evidence is in,”said the defense in its opening statements. “Some of it will be graphic … it’s going to be awful. But that doesn’t make it true.”
What say you? Sandusky: guilty or not guilty?