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Victims' testimony reveals chances to end alleged abuse by Sandusky

The eyewitness testimony that jurors heard last week in Jerry Sandusky's child-molestation trial was disturbing not only for its graphic descriptions of sex with boys, but also for what it said about the people who surrounded and maybe even protected the once-revered Penn State assistant football coach.

Eight accusers took the witness stand and described how Sandusky molested them in campus showers, hotel bathrooms, a basement bedroom, a sauna used by the football team -- with his friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances nearby.

The Sandusky story, the way authorities have framed it, is one littered with missed chances to stop a rapist who preyed on children for years.

Prosecutors have hinted that top university officials knew far more about Sandusky's alleged proclivities than they have let on, submitting a document Monday that says Penn State's former vice president -- who faces charges related to the scandal -- maintained a file on Sandusky a decade ago.

A Penn State trustee told the Associated Press he now suspects a cover-up.

Evidence and testimony from the trial also show there were plenty of people, not just those at the highest levels of the university, who had ample opportunity to stop a man accused of attacking 10 boys over 15 years:

*A janitor failed to tell authorities he allegedly caught Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a campus shower a dozen years ago.

*A district attorney with a reputation for prosecuting cases involving children and sexual abuse victims declined to charge Sandusky over a 1998 molestation allegation even though the detective who investigated thought it was a solid case. The DA, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 and was declared legally dead last year.
*School officials were skeptical of abuse claims brought by the young man known in court papers as Victim 1 because, the accuser testified, Sandusky was considered to have a "heart of gold." Victim 1's allegations eventually triggered the state investigation that produced charges.

*Coaching assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky having what he believed to be sex with a young boy in 2001. But his report to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz went nowhere.

McQueary's father testified that during a conversation, Schultz said he was suspicious of Sandusky, and NBC reported last week that emails between former university President Graham Spanier and Schultz aiming to keep McQueary's allegation from going further were turned over to the attorney general.

*Several accusers said their parents or caregivers failed to grasp what was happening to them. Victim 4 testified that one weekend he did not want to go with Sandusky and told his mother, "I'm pretty sure he's gay," but she dismissed the idea.

Keith Masser, a Penn State trustee, said in an interview that he initially thought the scandal was about a failure of administrative oversight of the football program. Now he suspects it goes deeper.

When the board of trustees ousted Spanier on Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky's arrest, it was "because we didn't have confidence in his ability to lead us through this crisis," Masser said. "We had no idea [at the time] he would be involved in a cover-up."