Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State University assistant football coach, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse Friday night and faces spending the rest of his life in state prison. His attorney said he would appeal the verdict.
Sandusky’s attorney, Joseph Amendola, asked Judge John Cleland to allow Sandusky to be released on house arrest, but Cleland rejected the request, saying: “Bail is revoked. Mr. Sandusky is remanded to the custody of the sheriff.”
Sandusky, 68, was immediately led out of the courthouse in handcuffs as a large crowd cheered, which was broadcasted on all major U.S. TV news networks.
Sentencing was set for late September.
The former longtime defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team had denied all 48 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years. Two grand jury reports accused him of having used his connection to one of the United States top college football programs to “groom” the boys, whom he met through his Second Mile charity for troubled children, for sexual relationships.
This week, his adopted son Matt Sandusky released a press statement stating that he was also molested by his father; however, the jury did not hear about his claim.
Whether Sandusky has abused any other older teens or has engaged in any consensual adult gay relationships is unknown.
Several of the counts are mandated felonies, meaning Cleland has no discretion in sentencing. NBC News reported that he faces a minimum of 60 years in prison.
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Cleland, who is a senior judge in McKean County, was brought to Centre County to oversee the trial after local judges recused themselves because of their ties to Penn State.
Amendola, who was interrupted by hecklers outside the courthouse several times, said he had expected the outcome and respected the verdict of the jurors, who did not speak to reporters afterward.
He said he believed Sandusky had legitimate grounds for appeal, saying his client had “an uphill battle” because of the extensive pretrial publicity.
“We said we were attempting to climb Mount Everest from the bottom of the mountain. Obviously, we didn’t make it,” he said.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, whose office prosecuted Sandusky, said, “A serious child predator … has been held accountable for his crimes.”
Kelly, a graduate of rival college University of Pittsburgh, thanked the victims, who she said “came forward to bravely testify in this trial and to finally put a stop to the crimes that were committed.
“We hope that our search for justice will help them and perhaps others looking on nearby and afar.”
Penn State said in a statement late Friday that: “we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. 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 university said it would seek to “fairly … compensate” the victims and invited them to participate in a program to “facilitate the resolution of claims against the University arising out of Mr. Sandusky’s conduct.”
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The statement said they intended to get in contact with lawyers for the victims “in the near future.”
Sandusky was acquitted on three counts: an indecent assault charge involving “Victim 6,” a man who testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just “blacked out;” an indecent assault charge involving “Victim 5,” who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower; and an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge regarding “Victim 2,” who former assistant coach Mike McQueary said he saw being attacked in a campus shower.
The trial, which opened June 11, was proceeded by the firing of head coach Joe Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach in history, many of them with Sandusky as his assistant.
Paterno died exactly five months ago from cancer, a few weeks after the Penn State Board of Trustees dismissed him for not having done enough to stop Sandusky’s abuse and possibly covering up the scandal. Many people believe his cause of death was due to stress over the abuse scandal.
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Jurors heard often-graphic testimony from eight of the 10 victims whose accounts were included in two grand jury reports. They told how Sandusky would first win their trust by giving them gifts and taking them on trips with the football team before progressing to hugging, kissing, increasingly sexual touching and, in some cases, oral and anal.
In a rare occurrence in an abuse trial, prosecutors also presented the testimony of a corroborating eyewitness — Sandusky’s former Penn State coaching colleague McQueary.
McQueary said the boy had his hands against the wall and that Sandusky was standing up against him from behind. He said he heard a “skin-on-skin smacking sound” and that he had “no doubt” that Sandusky was engaging in anal sex with the boy.
The jury members were denied access to computers, phones or any other way to hear news coverage, so they did not hear any newer information from two other accusers who emerged after they began deliberations.
The jury included seven women and five men.
Sandusky’s adopted son Matt said he had been prepared to testify that he was also a victim of abuse by his father, according to a press statement issued Thursday by attorneys who said they are representing him.
Amendola said Friday night that Jerry Sandusky abandoned plans to testify in his own defense because of the prospect of damaging rebuttal testimony by his son.
The jury did not hear the account of Travis Weaver, 30, of Ohio, who attended Second Mile camps as a youth.
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Weaver told NBC News in an interview that aired Thursday night that Sandusky performed oral sex on him in the upstairs bedroom of the Sanduskys’ home.
Weaver testified to one of the two grand juries but was not mentioned in the grand jury reports or called as a witness during the trial.
Two former top Penn State officials, former Athletic Director Timothy Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, face perjury charges in connection with their grand jury testimony in December, in which prosecutors alleged that concealed what they knew about Sandusky’s conduct.
Law enforcement sources have told NBC News that former Penn State President Graham Spanier, who was fired in November, was under investigation for possible similar charges.
Video of Jerry Sandusky being taken to prison:
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