Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jerry Sandusky Found Guilty on 45 of 48 Counts of Abuse

It's a fitting end to Jerry Sandusky's trial. After weeks of hearing from a number of his victims, a jury took just about three days to find him guilty on 45 of 48 charges. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison. The minimum sentence based on Pennsylvania law and the charges is 60 years, which means that the 68 year old Sandusky will never be released from prison. Sentencing, which will be in 90 days, could present a sentence in the hundreds of years if imposed consecutively. Either way, it will be cold comfort to his victims, which now includes his own adopted son:
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.
Matt Sandusky had been one of his father's defenders until the turn of events. He had apparently contacted prosecutors and offered up that Jerry had abused him. Had Jerry gone on the stand to testify in his own defense, Matt would have been called as a rebuttal witness, and it would have been devastating to Jerry's defense, which was predicated on sowing doubt in the jury's eyes that the alleged victims were part of a conspiracy.

The conspiracy theory didn't work out, and I expect that others who had been abused by Sandusky will now come forward.

The guilty verdict isn't the end of things for Penn State either. This will affect the criminal and potential civil cases against the university, especially in light of another Pennsylvania case decided yesterday. That case, involving a Roman Catholic Church official, Msgr. William J. Lynn, who was found guilty of covering up abuse cases in the church, may inform as to the next steps against the university. Penn State officials are on the hook for perjury charges and failing to alert law enforcement to Sandusky's actions. With its deep pockets, the University will rightfully take a big hit because of its actions and inaction in dealing with Sandusky's abuse.

Just imagine had the university and law enforcement dealt with Sandusky with the first reports of abuse came in; how many kids would have been spared abuse? The University knowingly allowed a child predator to not only work at the university, but they allowed him all manner of privileges because of the football program where he worked.

That cannot be tolerated, and I hope that the victims get a measure of satisfaction, although nothing can take away the pain, shame, and grief that Sandusky wrought.

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.
Matt Sandusky had been one of his father's defenders until the turn of events. He had apparently contacted prosecutors and offered up that Jerry had abused him. Had Jerry gone on the stand to testify in his own defense, Matt would have been called as a rebuttal witness, and it would have been devastating to Jerry's defense, which was predicated on sowing doubt in the jury's eyes that the alleged victims were part of a conspiracy. The conspiracy theory didn't work out, and I expect that others who had been abused by Sandusky will now come forward. The guilty verdict isn't the end of things for Penn State either. This will affect the criminal and potential civil cases against the university, especially in light of another Pennsylvania case decided yesterday. That case, involving a Roman Catholic Church official, Msgr. William J. Lynn, who was found guilty of covering up abuse cases in the church, may inform as to the next steps against the university. Penn State officials are on the hook for perjury charges and failing to alert law enforcement to Sandusky's actions.

With its deep pockets, the University will rightfully take a big hit because of its actions and inaction in dealing with Sandusky's abuse. Just imagine had the university and law enforcement dealt with Sandusky with the first reports of abuse came in; how many kids would have been spared abuse? The University knowingly allowed a child predator to not only work at the university, but they allowed him all manner of privileges because of the football program where he worked. That cannot be tolerated, and I hope that the victims get a measure of satisfaction, although nothing can take away the pain, shame, and grief that Sandusky wrought.

UPDATE: Here's the breakdown of the 48 charges, and the 3 charges on which he was found not guilty.

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