Jerry Sandusky, who had become a hometown hero as both a coach of Penn State's football team and as a champion for under-privileged boys, was found guilty of 45 out of 48 child sex abuse counts.
In a case that shocked not just Pennsylvania but the nation, the 68-year old Sandusky was found guilty Friday night of abusing 10 young boys over 15 years, many of whom were the same children he purported to help.
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The case shamed Penn State University, as former athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz are accused of lying to a grand jury about allegations against Sandusky. And legendary head coach Joe Paterno, long revered for his high moral standard, was fired last year after a key witness said Paterno was told of the abuse, too. He died only months after being fired
The jury in Bellefonte, Pa., delivered its verdict shortly after 10 p.m, spending only two days deliberating the sometimes graphic and emotional testimony from his victims.The victims told of being friended by the former assistant coach through his Second Mile Charity, and then being violated in his home, in hotel rooms and even in the Penn State locker rooms.
Sandusky showed no emotion as the verdict was read. His bail was revoked and he was led out of the courthouse in handcuffs. He likely will spend the rest of his life in jail.
"One of the recurring themes in this case was, `Who would believe a kid?''' Attorney General Linda Kelly said. "The answer is, we in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid."
Sandusky had repeatedly denied the allegations against him. The defense portrayed him as the hapless victim of a conspiracy to convict him of heinous crimes. They explained the 48 charges against him as the result of an investigatory team out for blood and accusers who willingly played along in hopes of securing a big payday.
One of the three counts for which Sandusky was acquitted concerned Victim 6, an indecent assault charge. The man testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just "blacked out.''
The other acquittals were an indecent assault charge related to Victim 5, who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower, and an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge regarding Victim 2, the boy graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw being attacked in a campus shower.
"The reason we held back is because we didn't have the evidence," said juror Joshua Harper. McQueary didn't see any penetration."
Almost immediately after the judge adjourned, 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 advocates and local residents with their kids. Many held up their smartphones to take pictures as people filtered out of the building.
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.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola was interrupted by cheers from the crowd on the courthouse steps when he said, "The sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence."
Sandusky could face additional criminal charges involving accusers who came forward after his November arrest.
The attorney general's office has said repeatedly that it has an "active and ongoing'' investigation of Sandusky, while federal prosecutors in Harrisburg issued a wide-ranging subpoena in February for university computer records and other information.
Civil lawsuits also are likely against Sandusky, his Second Mile charity and Penn State.