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Jerry Sandusky found guilty on 45 of 48 child sex abuse counts

Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse, is seen in a booking photo on Friday, June 22, 2012.
June 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jurors found Jerry Sandusky guilty Friday night on 45 counts of child sex abuse in the former Penn State coach's trial. He was found not guilty on three counts.

It took jurors roughly 20 hours over two days of deliberations to reach the verdicts. The former Penn State assistant coach and one-time heir apparent to Joe Paterno is behind bars.

A crowd that had gathered outside the courthouse and erupted with cheers after the verdicts were announced.

"This defendant, a serial child predator who committed horrific acts, has been held accountable for his crimes," said Linda Kelly, Pennsylvania Attorney General.

Over the course of the two-week trial, eight men testified about abuses that ranged from kissing and massages to groping, oral sex and anal rape.

Afterward, Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, addressed the media with a vocal crowd behind him.

"Essentially the sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence, just due to the length of it," he said, which was met with more cheers from the crowd.

Amendola said the bombshell revelation that Sandusky's adopted son, Matt, suddenly offered to testify that he too was abused by Sandusky completely upended the defense strategy.

Amendola said Jerry Sandusky wanted to take the stand and was going to, but because of Matt Sandusky's accusation, the defense attorneys decided to keep the former coach from testifying.

"To put Jerry on the stand, to set him up to have Matt come in to this jury and testify against him would have absolutely destroyed any chances that he had of acquittal," said Amendola.

Amendola pointed out that Matt Sandusky had sat with the Sandusky family in support of his father at the beginning of the trial and was actually listed as a defense witness.

When asked why Matt Sandusky would offer to testify against his father, Amendola offered this:

"Jerry said that Matt had had problems ever since Matt was with them and that these problems had led Matt to do things that were irrational," said Amendola.

After the verdicts were read, Sandusky's wife, Dottie, and members of the family left the courthouse. And it didn't take long for Jerry Sandusky's booking photo to be released. He'll be held at the local jail until he's sentenced in 90 days.

In the meantime, members of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno's family issued a statement following the verdict.

"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone," the family said in the statement. "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."

Local experts reacted to the verdict Friday night. They say they expect the 68-year-old to live out the rest of his life in prison.

"This is somebody who is going to get sentenced to hundreds of years in prison and he is going to die in prison absent some kind of a reversal or Hail Mary," said defense attorney Mark Geragos, who said he expected a guilty verdict after 21 hours of deliberation.

Defense attorney Ira Salzman says the testimony of the eight victims made for a strong case.

"The prosecution was able to put forward a case where these victims, a lot of whom didn't know each other, were saying things substantially similar. And that's what often times makes for a compelling case for the prosecution," said Salzman.

Sandusky will most likely be on a suicide watch while he's awaiting sentencing and be kept away from the general population. He's not only a high profile inmate, but the type of inmate others tend to despise.

"Child molesters and those convicted of that crime generally are the lowest of the low in the prison population, so their lives are always in jeopardy more so than almost any other prisoner," said Geragos.

Before sentencing a state board will have to determine if Sandusky is a sexually violent predator. If so, that would be taken into consideration is his treatment and it could factor into the sentence he receives.


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