Sandusky Guilty of Sexual Abuse of 10 Young Boys
By: Joe Drape – The New York Times – June 22, 2012
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted Friday of sexually abusing young boys, completing the downfall of a onetime local hero in a scandal that shook a proud Pennsylvania community, a prominent American university and the world of major college football.
A jury in Centre County Court convicted Sandusky, 68, of sexually assaulting 10 boys, all of them children from disadvantaged homes whom Sandusky, using his access to the university’s vaunted football program, had befriended and then repeatedly violated. The jury, seven women and five men, more than half with ties to Penn State, returned a verdict on the second day of deliberation.
Sandusky stood stoically as the jury foreman read off the verdicts on the 48 counts against him. The foreman said guilty 45 times. Many of the charges, which include rape and sodomy, carry significant prison terms, and it seems likely that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Sandusky was taken into custody after the verdicts were read.
The case against Sandusky, even before his trial, had exacted an enormous toll. Joe Paterno, the university’s famed head coach who had been alerted to at least one of Sandusky’s attacks on a boy, was fired, went into a kind of exile and was dead of cancer within months. The university’s longtime president, Graham B. Spanier, was dismissed as well, and Penn State officials, alumni and students were forced to confront the possibility that the interests of big-time college sports had trumped concern for the welfare of vulnerable children.
Sandusky, who had been Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, had also founded a charity, the Second Mile, to work with troubled youths. In a trial that lasted two weeks, prosecutors asserted that Sandusky had used the charity as his private hunting ground, scouting for potential victims. He gave them gifts and money, invited them to his home, took them to Penn State football games, showered with them at the university’s football building and slept with them in hotel rooms on the road.
Eight men testified during the trial, offering graphic accounts of repeated assaults by Sandusky — on the Penn State campus, in hotel rooms and in the basement of Sandusky’s home. It was painful testimony, the men telling their horrifying stories in public for the first time. Some wept. Others said, with anger and relief both, that they wanted to move on at last.
In one of the case’s final startling chapters, this coming after the case had gone to the jury on Thursday, another man came forward to assert that Sandusky had molested him: it was one of Sandusky’s adopted children, Matt, who said he had offered to testify at the trial.
Sandusky’s lawyer, Joseph Amendola, said outside the courthouse that he and Sandusky’s wife “accepted the verdict,” but complained that he had been rushed in preparing a defense. “There are a lot of people sitting in jail who are innocent,” he said, prompting hooting and booing from the crowd that had gathered after the verdict.
The verdict against Sandusky will not bring an end to Penn State’s problems or reckonings. Lawsuits loom. At least two formal investigations, including one by a former director of the F.B.I. at the behest of the university’s board of trustees, are still under way. And two senior university officials — the athletic director and the administrator in charge of the campus police — face criminal charges that they failed to act when informed that Sandusky had assaulted a 10-year-old boy in a university shower in 2001 and then lied about that knowledge before a grand jury.