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Jerry Sandusky called himself 'tickle monster,' accuser testifies

June 14, 2012|By Michael Muskal

The sixth of the accusers who say they were abused by Jerry Sandusky took the witness stand Thursday and described being embraced in the shower by the former Penn State football coach who called himself the “tickle monster.”

The prosecution in the highly publicized case is coming to a close and could finish as soon as Thursday, Judge John Cleland told jurors. So far, the jury of seven women and five men has heard from seven of the eight alleged victims.

Jurors have also heard from adults describing two other cases in which the identities of the children have not been ascertained by investigators.

PHOTOS: Who's who in the Sandusky case

Sandusky, 68, is charged with 52 counts in the alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. The charges have taken Penn State and the area surrounding Bellfonte, Pa., by storm. Trustees last year fired university President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno. Two other college administrators face criminal charges in connection with the aftermath of the scandal.

In the latest testimony Thursday, one of the accusers, known in court documents as Victim 6, described taking a shower at Penn State in 1998 with Sandusky, saying Sandusky soaped his back and eventually embraced him.

The mother of the man – now 25 – went to authorities when her son came home with wet hair. That report did not lead to any charges, investigator Ronald Schreffler said in testimony Thursday. He called the decision a mistake.

Schreffler, a former Penn State police officer who now works for the Department of Homeland Security, said he went to Ray Gricar, then the district attorney, who disagreed that the incident should be prosecuted.

Gricar disappeared in 2005 under mysterious circumstances and was later declared legally dead.

Victim 6 said during cross-examination that he had maintained contact with Sandusky, exchanging emails and notes for holidays and that they had lunch together last summer. Asked why he had decided to testify, the man said he was approached by investigators who asked him to think again about the events in 1998.

“As I started to go over it in my mind, I quickly realized my perception changed, thinking about it as an adult as opposed to an 11-year-old,” he said, according to media reports from the courtroom. “That was inappropriate, what happened to me.”

"Did the change in your attitude have anything to do with hiring an attorney and thinking that there might be some financial gain for you?" defense attorney Joe Amendola asked.

"Zero," the witness replied.

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Join Michael on Google+. Email: michael.muskal@latimes.com

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