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Verdict is in: Sandusky found guilty on 45 of 48 counts, likely to spend rest of life in prison

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is led from the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs on Friday night after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years.

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is led from the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs on Friday night after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years.

Jerry Sandusky was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, with the jury finding him guilty of 45 of 48 counts. Sandusky, 68, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, showed little emotion as the verdict was read. The judge ordered him to be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months. He faces the possibility of life in prison. The verdict capped two weeks of often graphic testimony from eight accusers.

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Q: WHAT WERE THE CHARGES?

A: Sandusky was charged with 48 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span dating back to the mid-1990s. The charges were nine counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, nine counts of indecent assault, nine counts of unlawful contact with a minor, 10 counts of corruption of minors, 10 counts of endangering a child’s welfare and one count of attempted indecent assault.

At the beginning of trial, Sandusky faced 52 counts.

One count of unlawful contact with a minor was dropped mid-trial because the statute didn’t apply at the time of the alleged encounter.

The judge threw out three counts after testimony ended: two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of aggravated indecent assault. The judge said the first two charges did not bear out what testimony revealed and the third was the same as another count.

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Q: NOW THAT SANDUSKY HAS BEEN CONVICTED, WHAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT COULD HE RECEIVE?

A: Had the jury found him guilty of all charges, the maximum possible sentence would have added up to about 500 years. Sandusky’s lawyer Joseph Amendola called it a “life sentence.” Sandusky went to the Centre County Correctional Facility immediately after the judge revoked his bail and ordered him jailed.

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Q: WHO WERE HIS ACCUSERS? WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

A: The eight known accusers, who now range in age from 18 to 28, met Sandusky through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for helping children from troubled or single-parent families. Their testimony described how Sandusky bought them gifts, took them to football games and had them stay in a spare bedroom in his home for overnight sleepovers. Investigators say they don’t know the identities of the two other alleged victims.

The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6 was in the courtroom when the verdicts were read, and broke down in tears. The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the “tickle monster” in a shower assault. His mother said: “Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.”

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Q: HOW DID SANDUSKY EXPLAIN HIS ACTIONS?

A: Sandusky has acknowledged publicly that he “horsed around” with young boys, showered with them after workouts, hugged them and had other physical contact but said he never acted with sexual intent. He said in interviews after his arrest that he is not a pedophile but in retrospect realizes that he should not have showered with the boys. Sandusky did not testify in his own defense, but his wife, Dottie, did the take stand in support of her husband.

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Q: WHAT WAS THE DEFENSE TEAM’S STRATEGY?

A: In his opening statement to the jury, defense attorney Joseph Amendola said the accusers’ allegations were flimsy and suggested that some of them have a financial stake in the outcome because they want to sue Sandusky and others. During cross-examination, Amendola also tried to undermine the credibility of the young men, as well as former football team assistant Mike McQueary, who testified seeing Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy in 2001.

Amendola also suggested some of his client’s interactions with boys are not indicative of pedophilia but of histrionic personality disorder, a condition in which someone behaves in a dramatic fashion to get attention.

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Q: WHY WAS THERE NO LIVE-TWEETING OR VIDEO COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL?

A: Judge John Cleland, who was brought in from a county 80 miles away to preside over the proceedings, barred reporters from sending any electronic transmission from inside the courtroom or a nearby media center where dozens of reporters are watching the proceedings. The restriction is not unusual in Pennsylvania courtrooms.

Also, Pennsylvania Supreme Court regulations prohibit all types of cameras and broadcasting equipment in courtrooms during criminal proceedings. The rules give judges in the state’s appellate courts discretion to allow cameras, but only in nonjury, civil proceedings.

JERRY SANDUSKY

Role: Former assistant football coach and founder of The Second Mile charity for children, convicted of molesting boys over a 15-year period.

Background: Arrested in November after a long investigation by a statewide grand jury. He had been a successful defensive coach for the Nittany Lions for 30 years, and prosecutors say he used his fame in the community to attract victims.

Charges: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a young child, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children.

Status: Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts. The judge ordered him to be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

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DOTTIE SANDUSKY

Role: Married to Jerry Sandusky.

Background: Dottie Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and issuing a statement in December that proclaimed his innocence and said accusers were making up stories. She is not charged. She testified June 19 on her husband’s behalf.

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TIM CURLEY

Role: Penn State athletic director, on leave while he fights criminal charges for actions related to the Sandusky scandal.

Background: Curley fielded a complaint about Sandusky in a team shower with a boy in early 2001, and told a grand jury he instructed Sandusky not to be inside Penn State athletic facilities with any young people.

Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He wasn’t on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.

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GARY SCHULTZ

Role: Penn State vice president for business and finance, now retired.

Background: Schultz told the grand jury that head coach Joe Paterno and assistant Mike McQueary reported the 2001 shower incident “in a very general way” but did not provide details.

Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He wasn’t on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.

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MIKE MCQUEARY

Role: Assistant Penn State football coach. Was a graduate assistant in 2001, when he says he witnessed Jerry Sandusky and a boy naked together in a team shower. McQueary took his complaint to Paterno, who alerted university administrators.

Background: McQueary testified in court June 12 that he had “no doubt” Sandusky was having some type of intercourse with the boy.

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JOE AMENDOLA

Role: Defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky.

Background: Amendola has been second-guessed for allowing Sandusky to go on network television and speak at length with a reporter for The New York Times after his arrest. Has won several legal battles for Sandusky, including getting him released on bail and fighting the prosecution’s effort to have the case heard by a jury from outside the State College area. His office is in State College.

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KARL ROMINGER

Role: Another defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky.

Background: Rominger suggested in media interviews that Sandusky might have been teaching “basic hygiene skills” to some of the youths, such as how to put soap on their bodies. His office is in Carlisle.

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JOSEPH McGETTIGAN III

Role: Lead prosecutor.

Background: McGettigan, currently senior deputy attorney general, is a veteran prosecutor with stints in the Philadelphia and Delaware County district attorneys’ offices and the U.S. attorney’s office. McGettigan prosecuted John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler at his palatial estate in 1996. He’s known as an aggressive, feisty lawyer.

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JOHN CLELAND

Role: Judge presiding over Sandusky’s trial.

Background: Cleland is a semi-retired senior judge from McKean County in western Pennsylvania. Known as courteous and fair-minded, Cleland previously chaired a state panel that investigated a nationally reported scandal in Luzerne County involving the trading of juvenile-detention suspects for cash.

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JOE PATERNO

Role: The longtime football coach was told by McQueary in 2001 that he saw Sandusky and Victim No. 2 in a shower on the Penn State campus and, in turn, told Curley and Schultz.

Background: The head coach at Penn State from 1966 through 2011, and major college football’s winningest, he offered to resign at the end of the 2011 season amid the uproar after Sandusky’s arrest Nov. 6. The Penn State Board of Trustees, however, ousted him for what was called his “failure of leadership” surrounding allegations about Sandusky. He died of lung cancer Jan. 22.

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SUE PATERNO

Role: Married to Joe Paterno for almost 50 years, she raised five children with him and passionately defended her husband during the scandal and after he died. She was among the Sandusky defense team’s potential trial witnesses.

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TOM CORBETT

Role: Now the governor of Pennsylvania, he was attorney general when the investigation into Sandusky was launched by state prosecutors.

Background: Corbett is an ex-officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged in December.

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LINDA KELLY

Role: Pennsylvania attorney general, whose office prosecuted Sandusky.

Background: A career prosecutor in the Pittsburgh area, Kelly inherited the Sandusky probe from Corbett when she was confirmed as his temporary successor as attorney general. She leaves office in January.

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FRANK NOONAN

Role: Pennsylvania State Police commissioner.

Background: Noonan garnered national attention two days after Sandusky’s arrest when he criticized Paterno, a Penn State and sports icon, for failing his “moral responsibility” to do more when McQueary told him of the 2001 shower incident.

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JACK RAYKOVITZ

Role: Former CEO of The Second Mile, the charity Jerry Sandusky founded.

Background: Raykovitz led the charity for almost 30 years and was a longtime friend of Sandusky’s. Raykovitz testified before the grand jury that recommended indicting Sandusky on child abuse charges. He resigned from The Second Mile soon after the scandal broke, and board members later complained that Raykovitz hadn’t told them enough about earlier allegations against Sandusky.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, a swift and emphatic end to a case that shattered Penn State University's Happy Valley image and brought down Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno.

Sandusky, a 68-year-old retired defensive coach who was once Paterno's heir apparent, was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts and is almost certain to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The jury of seven women and five men, including nine with ties to Penn State, deliberated more than 20 hours over two days.

Sandusky showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Judge John Cleland revoked his bail and ordered him taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months. Many of the charges carry mandatory minimum sentences.

Sandusky half-waved toward his family in the courtroom as the sheriff led him away. Outside, he calmly walked to a sheriff's car with his hands cuffed in front of him.

The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6 broke down in tears upon hearing the verdicts, and a prosecutor embraced him and said, "Did I ever lie to you?"

The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the "tickle monster" in a shower assault. He declined to comment to a reporter afterward, but his mother said: "Nobody wins. We've all lost."

Almost immediately after the judge adjourned the case, loud cheers could be heard from a couple hundred people gathered outside the courthouse as word quickly spread that Sandusky had been convicted. The crowd included victim's advocates and local residents with their children.

As Sandusky was placed in the cruiser to be taken to jail, someone yelled at him to "rot in hell." Others hurled insults and he shook his head no in response.

Lead defense attorney Joe Amendola was interrupted by cheers from the crowd on courthouse steps when he said, "The sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence."

Eight young men testified in a central Pennsylvania courtroom about a range of abuse, from kissing and massages to groping, oral sex and anal rape. For two other alleged victims, prosecutors relied on testimony from a university janitor and then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, whose account of a sexual encounter between Sandusky and a boy of about 10 ultimately led to Paterno's firing and the university president's ouster.

Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense, which Amendola said was a last-minute strategy change.

Defense attorney Karl Rominger said it was "a tough case" with a lot of charges and that an appeal was certain. He said the defense team "didn't exactly have a lot of time to prepare."

Amendola praised the prosecution, the judge and the jury and added: "Jerry indicated he was disappointed with the verdict, but obviously he has to live with it." He said he would appeal.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly thanked the accusers who testified, calling them "brave men."

She said she hoped the verdict "helps these victims heal ... and helps other victims of abuse to come forward."

"One of the recurring themes in this case was: Who would believe a kid?" she said. "The answer is: We here in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid."

Sandusky repeatedly denied the allegations, and his defense suggested that his accusers had a financial motive to make up stories, years after the fact. His attorney also painted Sandusky as the victim of overzealous police investigators who coached the alleged victims into giving accusatory statements.

But jurors believed the testimony that, in the words of lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III, Sandusky was a "predatory pedophile."

One accuser testified that Sandusky molested him in the locker-room showers and in hotels while trying to ensure his silence with gifts and trips to bowl games. He also said Sandusky had sent him "creepy love letters."

Another spoke of forced oral sex and instances of rape in the basement of Sandusky's home, including abuse that left him bleeding. He said he once tried to scream for help, knowing that Sandusky's wife was upstairs, but figured the basement must be soundproof.

Another, a foster child, said Sandusky warned that he would never see his family again if he ever told anyone what happened.

And just hours after the case went to jurors, lawyers for one of Sandusky's six adopted children, Matt, said he had told authorities that his father abused him.

Matt Sandusky had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors, the statement said. The lawyers said they arranged for Matt Sandusky to meet with law enforcement officials but did not explain why he didn't testify.

Amendola said Sandusky reluctantly agreed not to testify in his own behalf because the son would have been called by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness and the defense feared that would destroy any chance of acquittal.

Defense witnesses, including Jerry Sandusky's wife, Dottie, described his philanthropic work with children over the years, and many spoke in positive terms about his reputation in the community. Prosecutors had portrayed those efforts as an effective means by which Sandusky could camouflage his molestation as he targeted boys who were the same age as participants in The Second Mile, a charity he founded in the 1970s for at-risk youth.

Sandusky's arrest in November led the Penn State trustees to fire Paterno as head coach, saying he exhibited a lack of leadership after fielding a report from McQueary. The scandal also led to the ouster of university president Graham Spanier, and criminal charges against two university administrators for failing to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury.

The two administrators, athletic director Tim Curley and now-retired vice president Gary Schultz, are fighting the allegations and await trial.

The family of Paterno, who died exactly five months before Sandusky's conviction, released a statement saying: "Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."

In a statement, Penn State praised the accusers who testified and said that it planned to invite the victims of Sandusky's abuse to participate in a private program to address their concerns and compensate them for claims related to the school.

Sandusky had initially faced 52 counts of sex abuse. The judge dropped four counts during the trial, saying two were unproven, one was brought under a statute that didn't apply and another was duplicative.

Comments

coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

Another "sicko" off to prison....These are the kind of crimes that should warrant the death penalty also....Guilty on 45 of 48 charges....all perverted sex-related crimes and he ruined the lives of many people. How sick can you get?

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MRKIA 2 years, 6 months ago

THAT HE WAS ABLE TO KEEP IT UNDER THE RADAR FOR SO MANY YEARS IS WHAT MAKES HIM SO DANGEROUS. IF NOT FOR A WHISTLEBLOWER HE MIGHT STILL BE FREE TO BE THE LOW LIFE PEDOPHILE CREEP THAT HE IS. SANDUSKY: DO EVERYONE A FAVOR AND KILL YOURSELF

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agirl_25 2 years, 6 months ago

I am thrilled he was found guilty but surprised that some slick shrinks didn't convince the jury that he was suffering from some sort of PTSS, or some fancy name that they seem to come up with to protect dirty slime like Sandusky. I hope he either rots in prison or meets the same fate that Dahmer met while in prison.

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