Just before 10 p.m. last night, after 21 hours of sequestered deliberation, a Pennsylvania jury found former Penn State football coach and defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 boys. According to the Daily Beast's report from the scene, the 68-year-old Sandusky was "alert but ashen" as the verdict was read, his feet perceptibly swaying. In the first pew, one of his accusers — a 25-year-old man identified simply as Victim No. 6 — cried with his family. Outside, a crowd of hundreds cheered the news.
Over two weeks and 30 hours of testimony, jurors sat through what were described as "graphic" details of Sandusky's lewd relationships with boys he met through The Second Mile, the charity for at-risk youths he'd founded. (Sandusky's own foster son, Matt, who on Thursday told the authorities he'd been molested by his adoptive father, was a Second Mile boy.) Several of the charges against the longtime Penn State coach involved aggressive sexual crimes, including forced oral sex and anal rape. One victim testified that he was left bloodied by one of Sandusky's attacks — knowing Sandusky's wife, Dottie, was upstairs, the boy tried screaming for help, but none came.
After the verdict was released, Sandusk was immediately handcuffed and escorted past jeers of "pervert" and "rot in Hell" to a police cruiser waiting to take him to the county jail, where he will be allowed to bring just six pairs of white undershorts and socks. Sentencing is expected sometime in September and October, but with a maximum jailtime of 442 years, Sandusky is almost certain to spend the rest of his days in prison.
Though the defense team argues that it "didn't exactly have a lot of time to prepare" and will appeal the verdict, Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola says this was the "expected outcome." Yesterday, speaking to the New York Times and other press, he said he'd be shocked if Sandusky were actually acquitted.
"I'll probably die of a heart attack," the lawyer, Joseph Amendola, said. Of defending Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach, Amendola said, "This has been a daunting task."
Amendola, speaking inside the courtroom here, said he had prepared his client and his wife for the worst. He described the mood in the family's home as funereal.
"I've used the best example I could use: climbing Mount Everest from the bottom of the mountain," he said.
Amendola acknowledges that the defense team was up against "overwhelming evidence," but maintains that the prosecution overreached and that police investigators wrongly informed some alleged victims about others' testimony. Yet, unable to use his primary weapon — Jerry Sandusky's own testimony — over worries that Sanduksy's foster son Matt would take the stand, Amendola had only his closing arguments to (unsuccessfully) roll back the tide .
You have to believe he was the boldest perpetrator in history, taking these kids out, showering with them in front of other coaches. It doesn’t add up. It makes no sense, absolutely no sense.
Not so to prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III. Here, a snippet from his closing arguments.
What you should do is come out and say to the defendant that he molested and abused and give them back their souls. I give them to you. Acknowledge and give them justice.
Speaking after the verdict was read out, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, couldn't help but praise the jury for acknowledging these boys' (now men's) testimony.
"The jury here in Bellefonte, Pa., would and did believe a kid," Kelly said, referring to testimony by Sandusky's victims. "I hope this outcome allows the victims to heal and encourages other victims to come forward."
But the Sandusky saga is far from over. Police are still investigating nine other victims' accounts of sexual abuse — 10, counting Matt Sandusky — and at least three related cases continue to wind their way through the courts. In the meantime, Penn State University has reached out to all the victims in the hopes of facilitating some measure of peace and compensation.
Update: Joshua Harper, one of the 12 jurors, told NBC's Today Show that he thinks Sandusky had already come to terms with the verdict.
I looked at him during the reading of the verdict, and the look on his face, no real emotion, just kind of accepting, you know, because he knew it was true.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Victim No. 5 went on CBS' This Morning show to lambast Penn State as an "enabler" and warned the university that it too will be held responsible for Sandusky's long career of sexual abuse.