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Sandusky defense says investigators shared details among alleged victims

During an interview with an alleged Jerry Sandusky victim, a state trooper told the victim that oral sex and rape had occurred between Sandusky and other victims, and he encouraged him to talk about what had happened to him, according to testimony this morning.

A lot of the time, there is progression, Cpl. Joe Leiter said in a taped interview that was played in court this morning in the child sex abuse trial of the former Penn State assistant football coach. He went on to say that after touching and feeling “there’s been actual oral sex that’s taken place” with both parties and something classified as “rape that’s occurred.”

The defense played the tape and and then questioned Ben Andreozzi, an attorney for alleged victim No. 4, suggesting a financial motive for getting his client to say Sandusky had sexually violated him.

“Would a verdict of guilty in this case favorably impact your client and you in a civil suit?” Amendola asked.

Andreozzi initially said he and his client haven’t considered filing a claim, but when asked again he acknowledged that a not guilty verdict in the Sandusky case could have a negative impact on a lawsuit.

Under questioning from Amendola, two retired state police officers acknowledged that when speaking with potential alleged victims they told them there were others, but they denied influencing their stories or getting into specifics.

Sandusky’s attorneys tried to show that an alleged victim had, in fact, been influenced by police and his attorney in the most aggressive move seen by the defense so far.

Amendola read from the transcript this morning while questioning state police troopers about whether investigators had influenced potential witnesses, essentially planting ideas about potential accusations.

In the interview, Leiter told alleged victim No. 4 that “there is a pretty well defined progression in the way (Sandusky) operated and still operates” and that that progression included oral sex.

“We don’t want you to feel ashamed because you were a victim in this whole thing. What happened, happened,” Leiter said, according to the transcript Amendola read.

Leiter said that sounded accurate.

Leiter was one of two state police troopers Amendola questioned this morning.

Amendola asked them whether they may have “tainted” what the alleged victims said happened by telling them others were in a similar situation.

“Did it occur to you when you were doing that that you might be tainting the investigation?” Amendola asked one.

On questioning from the prosecution, Andreozzi said, “I have never suggested anything. ...”

The day opened with a string of character witnesses for Sandusky, including one woman who said an alleged victim who testified against Sandusky was known for being dishonest.

Meagan Rash, of Milesburg, said she knew one of the alleged victims growing up and that he was known as someone who was “a dishonest person and embellished stories.”

Several retired Penn State professors and former Second Mile participants were among those to take the stand and speak highly of Sandusky. Some of the character witnesses have also been in the courtroom throughout the trial.

“Among our children, among our grandchildren, Jerry Sandusky is a father figure and he’s also respected for what he did professionally,” retired Penn State professor Jack Willenbrock said.

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