BELLEFONTE – The judge in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial told jurors they cannot consider the defense theory that Jerry Sandusky has Histrionic Personality Disorder as a reason to acquit him of sexual abuse charges. Prior to closing arguments Thursday morning, Judge John Cleland also explained to jurors what constitutes a sex crime and what doesn’t.
The defense put an expert on the stand Tuesday that told jurors that Sandusky has Histrionic Personality Disorder. It was a way to explain why Sandusky sent so-called love letters to alleged Victim 4. The judge told jurors those letters are the only reason they can consider that expert testimony. He instructed the jury that disorder is no excuse for the sexual abuse of children.
The judge also told jurors an adult showering with a boy and washing the child’s hair or back is not a crime, unless there is sexual intent behind it. He explained to jurors what constitutes a crime in this case.
He said that obviously a man having oral sex with a child or having that child perform oral sex on him is a crime. But he went on to say that other cases of an adult touching a child is not necessarily a crime.
“It’s not necessarily a crime for a man to take a shower with a boy. It’s not necessarily a crime for a man to wash a boy’s hair, wash a boy’s back, or rub a boy’s back or crack his back,” said Judge Cleland. “You may believe he exercised poor judgement, but poor judgement does not rise to criminality. The adult’s behavior is not a crime merely because it makes a child uncomfortable.”
But the judge made it clear to jurors if there is any kind of sexual intent at all behind any of those actions it is a crime and the defendant should be found guilty.
Four charges have been dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by the judge. Jurors will consider 48 separate charges including Deviant Sexual Intercourse with a child over 12 or under 16, Indecent Assault of a Child, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Corruption of Minors, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Attempted Indecent Assault.
The closing argument for the defense is set to begin at 10:05 a.m. The prosecution is expected to begin before noon.
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