A jury has convicted former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys during a period of more than a decade.
Sandusky was escorted out of the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania Friday night in handcuffs, and taken to jail for processing. The jury reached its verdict after 21 hours of deliberation.
The panel heard seven days of testimony, including statements from eight of the 10 men claiming to be his victims over more than 15 years. The 68-year-old Sandusky did not testify in his defense. Following the verdict, Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola told reporters the Sandusky family was disappointed by the conviction.
“The Sandusky family is very disappointed obviously by the verdict of the jury, but we respect their verdict,” said Amendola.
Amendola said Sandusky never considered a plea agreement and maintained his innocence throughout. Amendola says the defense will now pursue what he calls some “appeal issues.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly thanked the victims for testifying, saying they had shown “great strength and courage” during the investigation.
“This trial was not something that they (the victims) sought,” said Kelly. “But rather, something that forced them to face the demons of their past, and to reveal what happened to them and their childhood when they met Jerry Sandusky.”
A crowd of people who had gathered on the steps of the courthouse cheered, while Sandusky’s wife walked away and embraced a few supporters. Based on sentencing guidelines, Sandusky faces spending the rest of his life in prison. His lawyer expects sentencing to take place in September, but no date has been announced.
The charges against Sandusky rocked Penn State University, prompting trustees to fire legendary head coach Joe Paterno, who has since died, and then-university president Graham Spanier. In a statement, current President Rodney Erickson said the legal process has spoken. He added that the university cannot change what happened, but does accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse. VOA