Gap Between Abuse and Charges Could Wreck Case Against Sandusky


The prosecution’s case against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky could turn on its ability to explain the almost 15-year lapse between the alleged period of sexual abuse and today, says the Christian Science Monitor. While the lead prosecutor yesterday promised witnesses would provide credible testimony, state law prohibits prosecutors from putting experts on the stand to explain why victims of sexual abuse often wait years before alerting the authorities.

Sandusky is charged with abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Eight alleged victims, now adults, will testify. “They are real people with real experience. You will know they were violated,” said prosecutor Joseph McGettigan. The time lapse provides the defense a greater opportunity to challenge the credibility of the victims says Drexel University law Prof. Richard Frankel. The defense has to convince the jury why the alleged victims didn't come forward earlier if they could have, Frankel says. In doing so, they will drill down on the specific details of the allegations because “the longer the time passes, the more memories that are in the back of their head aren't recorded accurately,” he says.

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