Late Friday night, a jury in Bellefonte found Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 of the 48 counts against him stemming from his sexual abuse of young boys. The jury convicted Sandusky of abusing each of the 10 victims involved.
The former defensive coordinator of the Penn State football team was immediately taken into custody at the Centre County Correctional Facility after the verdict was read.
He will be sentenced within 90 days and faces a maximum sentence of 442 years in prison.
His attorneys have indicated that he will appeal the convictions.
The verdict came down after jurors deliberated for about 21 hours over a two-day span. The trial lasted less than two weeks, and eight of the 10 victims took the stand.
The young men described a range of abuse that occurred in the past 15 years, from inappropriate hugging and kissing to forced oral sex and rape. Many of the victims were introduced to Sandusky through his Second Mile foundation, which he founded for at-risk youth.
Prosecutors said Sandusky showered his victims with gifts and trips and frequently had the boys sleep at his house, where much of the abuse was said to have taken place.
Defense attorneys, however, sought to discredit the victims, suggesting that they were coached by law enforcement and could be lying to get money.
The defense team also attempted to characterize Sandusky’s behavior as non-predatory and a product of histrionic personality disorder.
A number of character witnesses took the stand in his defense, including his wife, Dottie, who denied ever witnessing inappropriate behavior with any of the youth she said he mentored.
One of Sandusky’s six adopted sons, Matt, was originally slated as a potential defense witness but, as the trial drew to a close, offered to testify as a prosecution witness that his adoptive father also sexually abused him. Defense attorneys later said that they decided against having Sandusky testify in his own defense, as they believed Matt would be used as a rebuttal witness.
The convictions were the result of a years-long investigation by the state attorney general’s office into Sandusky that was made public last fall — and which led to the arrests of two other Penn State officials, who were charged with perjury. The university terminated its president and and its famed football coach, Joe Paterno, who they say didn’t do enough to deal with allegations against Sandusky.
Paterno died two months after he was fired.
Now that the trial is over, many expect the university to be bombarded with civil suits by the victims.
New university president Rodney Erickson said in a statement after the verdict that, “while we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse — both in our community and beyond.”
Erickson said the university plans to invite Sandusky’s victims to “participate in a program to facilitate the resolution of claims against the university arising out of Mr. Sandusky’s conduct. The purpose of the program is simple: The university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims’ concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the university.”
Erickson said university counsel will reach out to the victims in the “near future” with additional details.