A Centre County jury has found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse.
The panel of seven women and five men deliberated for more than 20 hours before convicting Sandusky at just before 10 p.m. Friday. The coach, awaiting sentencing from presiding Senior Judge John M. Cleland, faces the rest of his life in prison.
The former coach’s November arrest unleashed unrelenting scrutiny on Penn State and its revered football program, after prosecutors released a 28-page grand jury presentment related to eight victims. The scandal led to the ouster of two high-ranking administrators, its president and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno.
Since then, two more accusers came forward as prosecutors alleged the abuse spanned at least 15 years.
The verdict came after two more accusers, whose accounts were not included in the prosecution, made their stories public. One was Sandusky’s adopted son, Matt Sandusky.
A second man, Travis Weaver, said on NBC’s Rock Center Thursday that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times in the basement and guest bedroom of his house and in Penn State facilities.
During the trial, lead prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan said the former defensive coordinator used his position within the Penn State football program and his charity, The Second Mile, to prey on fatherless boys.
Calling Sandusky a “serial predatory pedophile, McGettigan’s final statement to the jury was: “Find him guilty of everything.”
McGettigan got all but three counts.
Sandusky had conceded that he kissed and showered with boys, but maintained his innocence throughout his trial. His attorneys, Joseph L. Amendola and Karl Rominger, put on what was largely a three-pronged defense: The accusers were after money, investigators targeted Sandusky and coached his alleged victims, and two non-complaining witnesses both lacked credibility.
Amendola had likened the task of representing Sandusky to climbing Mt. Everest.
“Obviously, we didn’t make it,” he said after the verdict.
He said the defense planned to take up some issues on appeal.
The jury acquitted Sandusky of one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse related to an unidentified victim indentified in court filings as Victim 2.
The allegations, which for many have come to be the embodiment of the scandal, came from former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who testified that he saw Sandusky rape in a boy in a Penn State locker room in 2001.
Sandusky was found guilty on other charges related to McQueary’s account.
He was also acquitted of two counts of indecent assault related to men identified as Victim 5 and Victim 6.
“It was a day of justice,” said Philadelphia plaintiffs attorney Thomas R. Kline, who represents a man known as Victim 5.
“This was something that happened to each of these young men,” Kline added. “Maybe their pain is a little less tonight.”
Philadelphia plaintiffs attorney Matthew Casey, who represents Victim 3 and Victim 7, said the verdict turns the attention to the university.
“Now the focus shifts to Penn State and this verdict makes very clear what it was that Penn State was made aware of and had the opportunity to prevent … without a doubt egregious acts of child molestation.”
“There will have to be answers forthcoming from Penn State,” Casey said.
Read more about it Monday at www.thelegalintelligencer.com.