BELLEFONTE, Pa. – The sobs from the witness stand were loud and prolonged, the cracking voice of Victim No. 1 in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual molestation trial gasping for breath as he detailed repeated acts of oral sex with the former Penn State defensive coordinator.
Now 18, the witness sat with his hands clasped in his lap, leaned into a microphone and slowly, painfully and purposefully delivered his disturbing memories of being an 11-, 12-year-old boy, alone with Sandusky on the waterbed in Sandusky's State College basement.
The sighs and sniffs echoed around a rapt Centre County Courtroom as jurors looked on, a couple noticeably disturbed. A few grimaced at the retelling and shook their heads.
Sandusky sat hunched over at the defense table, often rubbing his chin. The 68-year-old is facing 52 counts based on using his Second Mile charity and his stature within Penn State football to sexually molest 10 children over a 15-year period. He's maintained his innocence.
The witness was 10 when he first entered the Second Mile, which worked with at-risk youth. He never knew his father and lived with his single mother in public housing in a local town. Yahoo! Sports will not identify the witness due to the nature of the allegations.
After a couple years in the Second Mile program, now a slightly built preteen, he began spending time alone with Sandusky. Tuesday morning in court, he told of the sexual abuse, including in 2005 when Sandusky's repeated petting and cuddling on the waterbed went to another level.
After a day of fun activities, they retired to the basement full of games, air hockey tables and television, eventually laying together on a waterbed in a small bedroom.
"After rubbing and cracking my back and rubbing his hands down the back of my shorts and then blowing on the stomach," the witness said.
The witness then breathed heavily. He followed with a deep sniff of his noise, then hung his head and openly wept.
"He … "
"He put … "
There was another prolonged sigh. An attempt at a breath. A loud cry.
"He put his mouth on my privates," the witness said through a broken voice, seemingly just trying to spit it out.
"I spaced. I didn't know what to do with all the thoughts running through my head. I just blacked out. I didn't want it to happen. I froze."
The acts of oral sex continued for months, he testified, saying he was too embarrassed and confused to tell anyone what happened. He was also fearful no one would believe him. Time after time he found himself back in Sandusky's basement, where he often stayed two or three nights a week.
"It was always the same routine," the witness said. "Cracking my back, rubbing my back, putting his hands down back of my shorts, after that, it was always after he blew on my stomach that it happened.
"He would always blow on my stomach; as soon as he blew on my stomach that's when it would happen."
It was always Sandusky performing the act, the witness said, until one night.
"It was pretty much like any normal time with Jerry," the witness said before breaking down and crying harder and harder.
"This time he sat there," the witness said, voice breaking. "He looked at me and said something along the lines … "
"… 'It's your turn.' He made me … "
The witness cried intensely, putting his face into his hands as the courtroom watched.
"… He made me put my mouth on his privates."
On cross examination, defense attorney Joe Amendola focused on the witness's changing and evolving telling of the story to officials, including inconsistencies with dates, acts and the number of sexual encounters.
Many of the witness' previous retellings of the story – to a parade of guidance counselors, social workers, police and across three sessions in front of two different grand juries – don't mesh in the precise details.
For example, one time the witness said Sandusky didn't touch his private area, five months later he said Sandusky did.
"I will say those are two separate statements but I will tell you I was scared and the second time I knew what I had to do," the witness said. "I said what I said because I was scared."
The witness said that as he came to grips with what happened he had trouble admitting it out loud. It was particularly difficult to tell the entire story, especially in front of different groups of people. He also said each time was a source of great anxiety that caused him to hold back different parts of the story.
It was "embarrassing, [talking to] different people," the witness said. "… Like I said before, it's a tough subject to talk about.
"Whatever came first, I told the least amount to make it as easy on myself … I don't remember what I testified," the witness said later. "All I know is it happened … I may have white lied to cover embarrassment when I told these people. But I am here now telling the full truth to the fullest."
Amendola went over repeated inconsistencies in the story, pounding him on each difference. The witness kept saying he struggled to be comfortable with new people until the cross became contentious.
The witness cracked and put his hands to his face and began crying.
"It's hard enough to tell the people in the jury what happened let alone the size of the people in this room," the witness said, in a loud voice at Amendola. "I'm sorry – you are asking the same question over and over and I am going to give you the same answer over and over."
"Would you like to take a break?" Amendola asked.
"I'd like you to stop asking me the same question," the witness said.
"I'm actually asking a different one," Amendola said.
"You're rewording them."
Amendola also harped on the family's hiring of an attorney, suggesting that the motivation was financial. The witness said the attorney was hired to handle the media onslaught and help him through the legal process. Amendola repeatedly asked the witness if he verbalized to someone his expectation that he would one day reap a windfall and "live in a big house and drive a nice car."
"I did not say that," the witness said.
It is expected that the defense will counter that testimony with a witness of its own.
It was a better performance by Amendola than Monday's cross examination of the first alleged victim, but it showed the limits of the defense. At no time did Amendola attempt to disprove the sessions with Sandusky, only that the details and number of incidents shifted over time.
Later Tuesday, a local social worker, who had interviewed Sandusky, said Sandusky acknowledged laying on top of the witness, having the witness lay on top of him, blowing on his stomach, providing back rubs and staying at area hotels with the witness. She said Sandusky couldn't say whether his hand ever went below the witness' waistline and into his pants.
Sandusky, the social worker said, denied there was ever any sexual intent.
The witness also discussed a time a local wrestling coach, who is expected to testify at the trial, saw Sandusky and the boy "wrestling" in an auxiliary gym at a local high school. The witness was a wrestler in high school.
Amendola tried to minimize the "wrestling session," noting no sexual act occurred.
"Other than him on top of me and me on top of him and he rubbing my back?" the witness snapped at the defense attorney.
Sandusky also provided gifts, such as golf clubs, which Amendola tried to paint as an act of goodwill to get the boy involved in a positive activity. Amendola said the clubs were donated through Second Mile and consistent with the charity's mission.
Amendola also said Sandusky bought the witness clothes so he could take him to church, which the boy had never attended.
"Mr. Sandusky was trying to introduce you to church, wasn't he," Amendola said.
"I guess," the witness said.
The witness began to pull away from Sandusky around 2008 when he entered high school. Sandusky began calling his home relentlessly, even showing up and arguing with the witness about living up to his commitment to Second Mile. It ended one day when the witness' mother discovered the witness looking up a website that listed sexual offenders.
"She wanted to know why I was looking up that site," the witness said. "I said I wanted to see if Jerry was on there. I was giving her a hint that something was going on."
The mother, alarmed, set up a session with a school guidance counselor where the witness eventually told some about the sexual assault. However, the witness testified that the school was unconvinced.
With voice again cracking, he said, "They, they, they said we needed to think about it. [Sandusky] has a heart of gold. He wouldn't do something like that. So they didn't believe me."
The mother decided to take the boy to police, the first critical step that led to Sandusky being charged. A caseworker testified that in 2008, after the witness revealed more of his story in a second interview session, that there was "enough to indicate" possible child abuse. Now, years later, in open court, Victim No. 1 sat and told everything right to Sandusky's face.
It was intense and emotional, so intense and emotional that in the final question of direct, state prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III offered a softball question that revealed that the witness had recently graduated from high school.
"Thursday," the witness said, flashing the closest thing to a smile on this brutal Tuesday morning in court.
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Johnny Ludden: LeBron James returns to NBA Finals with purpose and poise
• Les Carpenter: Michael Vick gets opportunity that he lacked in previous offseasons with Eagles
• Martin Rogers: Fan conduct during Poland vs. Russia match at Euro 2012 will be watched closely
• Shine: British 'royal rebel' chosen for Olympic team