Matt Sandusky's abuse allegations against his adoptive father came too late for the trial

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Even as the jury in the Jerry Sandusky sexual molestation case deliberated into the evening before suspending until 9 a.m. Friday ET, the case was rocked by a late-breaking allegation.

Matt Sandusky, Jerry and Dottie Sandusky's 33-year-old adopted son, released a statement through his attorney saying the trial had sparked painful memories of being abused himself by the former Penn State defensive coordinator.

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Jerry Sandusky's 33-year-old adopted son, Matt, alleged being abused. (Getty Images)

Matt had become so convinced of his own abuse that he called prosecutors earlier this week and expressed a willingness to testify against his father. He'd started the trial on the defense witness list.

"This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment," his attorney said in a statement first reported by the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News.

So why didn't special deputy attorney general Joseph E. McGettigan III call what would've been a blockbuster witness against his father, who faces 48 counts for abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period?

He couldn't. At least he couldn't without risking the defense being able to call for a continuance that may have delayed the trial for months and caused the reseating of a jury and the potential retrying of a case the state feels very strong about.

Matt Sandusky's revelations came too late. He wasn't included in the original indictment, meaning he couldn't be a prosecution witness without the defense arguing that they need time to prepare for the new charge.

The only way for Matt Sandusky to become a witness would've been if Jerry Sandusky had testified in his own defense. Then on cross-examination, McGettigan could've addressed the potential abuse and later called Matt Sandusky as a rebuttal witness but not as an alleged victim.

That may have played into the defense's decision to not put Jerry Sandusky on the stand, which defense sources say wasn't made until Wednesday morning, just hours before it rested its case.

"If they put [Matt] on this week, the defense would've asked for a continuance because they would've had no time to prepare," said ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack. "So they only could've introduced him if Jerry Sandusky had testified."

[Related: Juror profiles: Most of the seven women, five men have Penn State ties]

Defense attorney Karl Rominger cited a gag order to Yahoo! Sports when asked about Matt Sandusky's allegations and whether it impacted the decision to not have Jerry testify.

"I wish there wasn't a gag order because this is something we'd like to address," Rominger said.

Matt Sandusky was in court on the trial's first day, seated with Dottie. When Judge John Cleland said any potential witnesses needed to leave the courtroom here, the two walked out together.

Later that afternoon Victim No. 4 detailed a story where Matt saw the then boy and Jerry Sandusky enter a shower together. Victim 4 said Matt gave a strange look. Previously Matt's biological mother testified before a grand jury that she feared strange behavior between Jerry and Matt.

Matt was a foster kid who stayed with the Sanduskys until they adopted him as an adult.

[Related: Dan Wetzel: Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case goes to the jury]

For Thursday's closing arguments, Dottie Sandusky was joined by three of the family's five adopted sons and their lone adopted daughter in Centre County Courthouse. Matt was not present. None of the Sandusky children testified on their father's behalf.

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Mike McQueary's testimony was reviewed by jurors as they deliberated. (AP)

At this point Matt Sandusky can't be added to this case. The jury has seen all of the possible evidence as they deliberate. Charges involving him could be filed at a later date, however.

Late Thursday night, after six hours of deliberation, the jury asked to review the testimony of former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary.

It's McQueary who alleges he walked in on Sandusky molesting a boy in a locker room shower in 2001. They also asked to see the testimony of Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a friend of the McQueary family to whom Mike detailed what he saw on the night of the event.

The two have told differing stories about what Mike said that night, although there also were many similarities.

McQueary's testimony is central to the charges involving Victim No. 2 and is considered the state's strongest non-victim witness. His testimony is over two hours long, however, so with the request coming in about 8:30 p.m., Judge Cleland suggested the jury hear it in the morning.

The jury will be sequestered at an area hotel during deliberations. They are expected to start up again Friday at 9 a.m., without knowledge of the lingering and expanding Sandusky alleged victim list that has stirred up passion about the defendant they can put away for over 400 years.

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