Jerry Sandusky who was fighting 48 counts of criminal behavior related to sexual misconduct with 10 children over the course of almost 15 years, was found guilty Friday of 45 of the 48 counts. The jury in the Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania deliberated for less than two full days to reach the verdict that many were expecting.
Many in the jury pool were either employed by, attended or had been to Penn State University which made some think it more difficult to get a conviction against a man who had been considered and called “a local hero” during times of testimony.
Jurors were facing a weekend away from their homes and families when they unanimously agreed to convict the former Penn State coach and founder of The Second Mile charity.
Sandusky was taken away in handcuffs for processing and later posed for the mugshot shown here. As he faced the cameras and lights during what is called the “perp walk” Sandusky was solemn, without the jocular look he would display at times in court and to media members on his way in and out of the courthouse.
Sandusky faced eight of his victims who took the stand despite having to speak in detail about what could be considered unspeakable. Years of abuse that seemed to follow a pattern from friendship to physical intimacy that was unwanted all the way to forced intercourse was put forth by young adults who were all children as young as 10 when they began being violated by Sandusky
Joe Amendola, lead attorney for the Sandusky family commented afterwards:
“The Sandusky family is very disappointed about the verdict but we respect it. From the beginning of this case we said we had an uphill battle, trying to climb Everest from the very bottom.”
His co-counsel also commented saying:
“Jerry rose and saw some tears in his eyes. He’s always been a law abiding citizen, except for these allegations. We knew whatever the jury’s verdict was we’d have to honor it. “
Both attorneys told media that there are grounds for appeal, one of which was their inability to get a continuance prior to trial to wade through the evidence. Amendola’s defense had been criticized by some as weak and without the vigor expected. None of the defense witnesses countered the accusations of the victims of physical and sexual abuse. Rather, Amendola tried to show they were unsure of exact dates, times and how often they were with Sandusky.
After promising the jury during opening statements that Sandusky would testify in his own defense a decision was made to keep him off the stand. The jury only heard the voice of the defendant answer questions from NBC’s Bob Costas during an interview last November.
Mr. Amendola revealed at tonight’s media conference that his client did not testify because he learned that one of his adopted children was ready to testify against his father. When the prosecution said they wouldn’t use Matt Sandusky in their direct case, but would use his testimony to counter his father’s claims he made on the stand. The decision was made to keep Jerry Sandusky off the stand at that moment.
The facilities of Penn State University were used for many of the crimes and the fallout toppled an administration, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno was never accused of criminal behavior as he informed his superiors of facts told to him by a witness to one of Sandusky’s acts with a young boy in the showers of the football facility.
It was Paterno’s lack of interest in following up on the facts to see if they were taken seriously or reported to authorities as was required under state law. After losing his job of over 50 years, he was treated for rapidly spreading lung cancer and died a few months later.
Used with permission of the author.
Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.
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