Skip to main content

Painful chapter closes with Sandusky's conviction for child sex abuse

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 26, 2012 -- Updated 2329 GMT (0729 HKT)
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on Friday, June 22. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on Friday, June 22.
HIDE CAPTION
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
Jerry Sandusky convicted
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Hopefully, part of the healing process began" with the verdict, a Penn State fan says
  • The ex-coach is guilty on 45 of 48 counts for sexually abusing boys over 15 years
  • A juror says the witnesses were all very credible, jury was "on the same page"
  • Sandusky has been placed on suicide watch, his attorney says

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- With the same decision announced on count after count -- guilty, guilty, guilty -- Jerry Sandusky's emphatic denials he had sexually abused boys for years became obsolete, closing a chapter in a saga that has gripped Penn State and the nation.

After a three-week trial featuring emotional and often graphic testimony from eight of the former Penn State assistant football coach's victims, a 12-person jury late Friday night convicted him on 45 of 48 counts. There were convictions related to all 10 victims alleged by prosecutors, with the three not-guilty verdicts applying to three individuals.

The verdict prompted people in central Pennsylvania to breathe a sigh of relief, believing a man many called a "monster" would pay the price for his crimes and their impact on his victims, as well as the Penn State community.

A neighbor of Sandusky's said many people connected with the region and the school needed this verdict in order to move on.

Witness: Sandusky's face went blank
Toobin: Sandusky an evil, evil man
Watch Sandusky be led out of court
Sandusky lawyer: We felt under prepared

"We need some sort of realization; we need the word 'guilty' -- that puts a label on what all this is," Susan Strauss said Saturday.

Added Tom Bonerbo, a Penn State football fan for more than 40 years, "Hopefully, part of the healing process began with last night's verdict."

Praise for victims' 'inspiring courage'

On Saturday, for the first full day in his 68 years, Sandusky was an inmate at the Centre County jail.

He never took the stand in his own defense -- a decision, his lawyer Joe Amendola said after the verdict, was made because his adopted son Matt Sandusky was ready to testify as a rebuttal witness that he, too, had been sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky.

Jurors did hear from eight young men who testified that as boys, Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts in showers in Penn State's athletics facilities, hotel rooms, the basement of his home and other places. The abuse spanned at least 15 years.

His conviction prompted the now grown man known as Victim 6 to break down in tears as he hugged prosecutors in the courtroom.

But, while satisfied, his mother did not claim victory.

"Nobody wins. We've all lost," she said before hugging her son.

After Judge John Cleland revoked his bail Friday, Sandusky somberly left the courthouse in handcuffs, silently ducking into a police car as reporters asked him if he had anything to say to his victims.

He is on what it is commonly called suicide watch, one of his lawyers Karl Rominger told CNN. The move is a precaution and does not mean his client is suicidal, the lawyer insisted, saying the judge and warden just wanted "to put the precautions in place first and then evaluate later."

Reporter describes Sandusky's reaction
Sandusky attorney discusses appeal
Witness: Sandusky's face went blank
Sandusky co-counsel pledges appeal

Sandusky will be classified at Pennsylvania's Camp Hill diagnostic facility before he is likely sent to a sex offender unit in the state prison system, Rominger said.

He should be sentenced in about 90 days, according to Cleland. If he gets more than two years, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will determine the prison where Sandusky will serve his time.

All you need to know about allegations, how case unfolded

After his verdict was announced, prosecutors Joe McGettigan and Frank Fina spent time answering questions from jurors about the victims and investigation, a source close to the prosecution said. McGettigan was touched by the jurors' interest and engagement, according to the source.

One of the jurors, Joshua Harper, told NBC's "Today" show that he and the four other men and seven women were "on the same page" as they considered the case and testimony from "very credible" victims.

"The fact that we saw this corroborating story between all of them, it was very convincing," Harper said.

Rominger said he "could see tears running down" Sandusky's face when the verdict was read. But Harper, like others in the courtroom, said he saw little evident reaction -- which he thought was "just confirmation" the jury made the right call.

"Just the look on his face, no real emotion. Just kind of accepting, because he knew it was true," the juror said.

iReport: Share your reaction

Yet, his lawyers say, Sandusky is not ready to admit to his crimes and accept defeat. His defense team has already announced plans to appeal.

"If you win on one of the appeal issues, everything probably falls," Amendola said. "All we have to do is convince an appellate court that one of the issues that we will raise is worthy of a reversal."

Rominger pointed to "a lot of unique legal issues where (Judge Cleland) made rulings that could be overturned, not because they were, per se, wrong, but because the law in the area was so unclear."

He also said "substantial constitutional questions" surrounded the prosecution's ability to use an accuser's claims based on hearsay alone. "All the convictions could come back on that ruling alone," Rominger said.

Defense lawyers repeatedly failed in their attempts to postpone the trial. Rominger disclosed on his radio program Saturday that he and Amendola had asked to withdraw from the case before jury selection, saying they didn't feel adequately prepared to defend Sandusky. The judge denied the request, said Rominger, who added he never mentioned the issue during the trial because of a gag order in place.

'The Sandusky 8' describe seduction, molestation and betrayal

Beyond the appeals process, Sandusky could be on trial again to face more charges -- perhaps tied to claims made by his adopted son Matt or related to alleged sexual abuse that took place outside Centre County, including in hotel rooms in Texas and Florida where he had taken accusers to watch Penn State bowl games.

And the fallout from the scandal is also far from over for Penn State itself.

Two of its former administrators -- Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley -- are awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failing to report abuse. Prosecutors say they did not notify police after former graduate football assistant Mike McQueary informed them he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy in a university shower in 2002.

Authorities didn't learn about that eyewitness account until years later, and the resulting scandal led to the ouster of iconic head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier. In addition to the testimony of McQueary and a janitor at the school, several victims said that Sandusky repeatedly sexually abused them on Penn State property.

What Sandusky has said about child rape allegations

In a statement released after Friday night's verdict, Penn State signaled it wants to seek resolution -- including some sort of financial settlement -- with the victims.

"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," the school said.

The Sandusky case has infuriated the Penn State community, not just because of the heinous nature of the crimes, but also because some feel the scandal has unfairly defined the university, students say.

"It's a relief. Now we can begin to heal," Penn State senior Karisa Maxwell said of the verdict. "I've never seen Jerry Sandusky. He has no affect on my education. For people to say he's Penn State is disgusting. That's not the case."

CNN's Laura Dolan, Susan Candiotti, Elisa Roupenian, Ross Levitt, Jason Carroll, Dana Garrett, Laura Dolan, Holly Yan, Kiran Khalid and Anderson Cooper and In Session's Michael Christian and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
May 30, 2013 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
The family of Joe Paterno plans to file a lawsuit Thursday against the NCAA seeking to overturn its sanctions against Penn State University over a child sex abuse scandal.
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1750 GMT (0150 HKT)
When all was said and done, Jerry and Dottie Sandusky did not ask the judge for mercy. Instead, they depicted the boys he sexually assaulted as ungrateful and called them liars.
October 13, 2012 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
The young man locked eyes with Jerry Sandusky in a packed courtroom and stared him down. He'd waited a long time for this moment.
September 2, 2012 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
In many ways, football is life at Penn State, a tradition synonymous with the campus. Nittany Lion fans are deeply religious about their football. Now, they begin a new era.
September 2, 2012 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
New students began at PSU despite a scandal that has damaged the school's reputation and prompted an ongoing investigation into allegations of a coverup by top officials.
September 1, 2012 -- Updated 1755 GMT (0155 HKT)
It's an old, old story. We've all placed people on pedestals, and then, almost inevitably, they let us down. They violate our trust. They betray us. They fall off the pedestal, or we remove them.
July 24, 2012 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
The NCAA announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University and stripped 14 seasons of football victories from the late head coach Joe Paterno.
July 13, 2012 -- Updated 1133 GMT (1933 HKT)
The extensive internal review of the debacle at Penn State forever casts a shadow over Joe Paterno.
July 13, 2012 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
The most powerful former leaders at Penn State University have been accused of showing "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims.
July 10, 2012 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
In a year marred with controversy and national notoriety, Penn State University alumni and boosters finally have something to smile about.
June 26, 2012 -- Updated 2329 GMT (0729 HKT)
With the same decision announced on count after count -- guilty, guilty, guilty -- Jerry Sandusky's emphatic denials he had sexually abused boys became obsolete.
Jerry Sandusky admitted showering with boys but denied the sex accusations. Here is what Sandusky has said publicly in the months before the trial.
June 23, 2012 -- Updated 1929 GMT (0329 HKT)
Jerry Sandusky's writings in a 2000 memoir about the difficult relationship with his adopted son are similar to several letters he wrote to a boy now known as alleged victim No. 4.
June 17, 2012 -- Updated 2034 GMT (0434 HKT)
The words came haltingly, punctuated by ragged sighs, groans and cracking voices as two teenage boys bared their darkest secrets to a packed courtroom.
Here's a look at some the key players and pertinent facts about the case and how it all unraveled.
ADVERTISEMENT