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June 11, 2012By Nate Bauer
Marc McCann, Associate Vice President of Programs for the Second Mile, stepped onto the witness stand in Courtroom No. 1 of the Bellefonte Courthouse at 4:45 p.m. Monday.
An exhausting first day of testimony nearly complete in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse trial, McCann followed the Commonwealth's compelling first witness, commonly referred to as Victim No. 4 in the original Grand Jury presentment of finding.
After hour upon hour of harrowing, sometimes graphic testimony of sexual molestation from Witness No. 1, McCann was brought in as a witness who had seen nothing, heard nothing, and was asked to testify only for his expertise in Second Mile operating procedures.
And yet, his words somehow may have been nearly as damning as those spoken by the first witness just moments earlier.
Shown a series of contracts composed by Sandusky and given to Witness No. 1 as a teenager, McCann was asked about their validity by the prosecution. Though the documentation listed 'The Second Mile' as a party to the contract, McCann had never seen them, or anything like them, in his tenure with the charity.
One called, 'The Program,' and dated for 1999-2000, the contract listed a proposed agreement between Witness No. 1 and Sandusky, stating that the teenager would be vigilant in his academic work, exercise multiple times a week and participate in programs with The Second Mile and, by extension, Sandusky. In exchange, Witness No. 1 would receive cash compensation to the tune of $1,000 for post-high school education.
Earlier, as Amendola contended that Sandusky had merely been looking out for the admittedly troubled youth's interests, encouraging him to honor his commitments while bettering his education, Witness No. 1 offered that the contract was merely an excuse for the defendant to reel him back into a pattern of abuse that had lasted for four years to that point.
Pushed to admit that he had signed the contracts, Witness No. 1 contested that he was simply trying to get Sandusky away from him. The contracts had nothing to do with The Second Mile, and Sandusky's sole intent for drawing up the contracts was to spend more time around him.
"Wasn't one of the agreements that I would work out three times a week?" the witness asked incredulously, lifting his eyebrows and pausing as the packed courtroom let out a stunned laugh.
Another contract, titled the Golf L.I.F.E. Mentor Program, was arranged the same way.
Asked by the prosecution if such a program ever existed at The Second Mile, McCann's answer was simple: No.
Asked by the prosecution if a supervisor could make a program up without proper vetting and supervision, once again, McCann's answer was straightforward: No.
The prosecution asked no further questions, the defense had no cross-examination, and seemingly as quickly as he had made his way onto the stand, McCann was stepping down, moments after delivering what may have been a critical blow to Sandusky's defense.
Regardless of what happens with the trial as it proceeds through the next days and weeks, the implications of the first day were frightening.
Like the initial presentment of finding, then the prosecutions opening statements, the simple idea that Sandusky had concocted legal documents out of thin air, guised by the umbrella of the charity he had founded to help troubled youth, then preyed relentlessly on some of the most vulnerable among them, painted a picture of true evil.
In the courtroom, the feeling was unsettling as prosecutors and the defense lingered while media members from all over the country raced outside to offer their reports to the masses in the overcrowded courtyard.
On the first day of a trial that is expected to last many, chances are, the feeling isn't likely to subside any time soon.
Penn State NEWS