BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A jury today convicted former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of sexual abuse of children.
Mr. Sandusky, 68, stood motionless as the foreman of the seven-woman, five-man jury read the verdict in Centre County Common Pleas Court. His wife, Dorothy, who testified in his defense, looked on from the front row of the gallery, seated with other family members.
The jury acquitted Mr. Sandusky on three counts.
Senior McKean County Common Pleas Judge John Cleland, assigned to preside in the case after all Centre County judges recused themselves, revoked Mr. Sandusky's bond and ordered him taken to the Centre County Jail pending sentencing, which he said would occur in about 90 days.
In court, Mr. Sandusky half-waved toward family as the sheriff led him away. Outside, he calmly walked to a sheriff's car with his hands cuffed in front of him.
The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6 broke down in tears upon hearing the verdicts in the courtroom. Afterward, a prosecutor embraced him and said, "Did I ever lie to you?"
The man, now 25, testified that Mr. Sandusky called himself the "tickle monster" in a shower assault. He declined to comment to a reporter afterward.
His mother said: "Nobody wins. We've all lost."
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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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 courthouse steps when he said, "The sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence."
The jury deliberated for about 20 hours over two days and the court announced that it had reached a verdict by 9:30 p.m. By then, Mr. Sandusky was on his way from his home to the courthouse with a police escort.
Mrs. Sandusky entered the packed courtroom at about 9:45 p.m., accompanied by family. The defendant entered five minutes later.
The jury foreman, juror number 4, announced the verdict count by count in a strong and decisive tone. A guilty verdict on the first count, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, carrying a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and a $25,000 fine, by itself ensured a long prison term for Mr. Sandusky. What followed sealed it, as the foreman pronounced him guilty on count after count.
The jury found Mr. Sandusky guilty on counts pertaining to all 10 of the boys he was accused of victimizing. The only counts that he was cleared on were involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with regard to Victim 2, the unidentified boy he was accused of sodomizing in a Penn State locker room shower. He was convicted of indecent assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and child endangerment in connection with the incident, witnessed by then Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary in February 2001.
He was found not guilty of an indecent assault charged against Victim 5, but found guilty of unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and child endangerment in connection with abuse that also occurred in the Penn State football facility in 2001.
The only other acquittal was on an indecent assault charge involving Victim 6 in 1998. The incident in the same football facility, the Lasch Building, yielded guilty verdicts for unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and child endangerment.
Mr. Amendola, speaking with reporters in the courtroom after his client was led away, said "everyone has to understand because of where we started with this, this is not a surprise. This is what everyone expected. We did the best we could."
Mr. Sandusky, he said, "still proclaims his innocence. He says he's innocent." On the issue of a possible appeal, Mr. Amendola said "we have a number of issues. We're going to look at it" after sentencing.
He listed them as the judge's refusal to delay the trial and late receipt of some discovery materials.
"We were flying by the seat of our pants just trying to catch up. Maybe it didn't look like it," he said.
He spoke well of the jury, saying, "I believe the jury acted genuinely. I believe the jury acted in good faith."
He said that the Sandusky family is "disappointed, obviously, by the verdict of the jury. But they respect the verdict."
No jurors have elected to speak to the media. McKean County Senior Judge John M. Cleland, in a decorum order, said no names of jurors would be made public without the jurors' consent.
The family of Joe Paterno, the famed Penn State football coach who was fired in November in the wake of the scandal because trustees didn't believe he did enough after hearing an account of abuse by then graduate assistant Mike McQueary, released a statement. Mr. Paterno died in January after being diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after he was fired.
"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."
Gov. Tom Corbett, who as state attorney general launched the investigation into Mr. Sandusky, released a statement after the verdict, thanking the jury for serving on "such a difficult case," as well as the victims.
"I also want to commend the multiple victims in this case who had the courage to come forward and testify in court, confronting Sandusky, and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of these reprehensible crimes,'' Mr. Corbett said in the statement.
"The agents and prosecutors of the Attorney General's Office, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, also deserve a great deal of credit for today's verdict. They pursued every lead, gathering evidence from multiple victims, in order to bring this man to justice,'' Mr. Corbett said.
Attorney General Linda Kelly also commended the jury, the witnesses and the investigators.
"One of the recurring themes from the witnesses' testimony, and it came from the voices of the victims themselves, was 'Who would believe a kid?'" she said. "And the answer to that question is, 'We here in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania would believe a kid.'"
She said the investigation continues, and that she couldn't speak to the question of whether more charges are coming.
Penn State issued a statement that focused on what the university is doing and plans to do to protect victims.
"No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing," the statement read. "Now that the jury has spoken, the University wants to continue that dialogue and do its part to help victims continue their path forward."
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org First Published June 22, 2012 10:45 AM