Jury finds Sandusky guilty in child sex -abuse trial - Morgan Hill Times: Pro

Jury finds Sandusky guilty in child sex -abuse trial

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Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012 8:01 pm

BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse.

The jury's verdict came shortly before 10 p.m. Friday, and the jury convicted him on all counts of victim Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

He was found not guilty of the most serious charge, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of victim 2 and a count of indecent assault against victim 5 and victim 6.

Sandusky looked down as the jury foreman read the verdict.

The mother and two sisters of victim 6 consoled him after the verdict was read.

"Nobody wins. We've all lost," the mother said and hugged her son.

The verdict brings an end to a trial whose criminal case rocked Penn State and the community, led to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno and and university President Graham Spanier, charges against two university administrators, and the closing of the charity Sandusky started.

The fallout is likely to continue to unfold with expected civil suits and other ongoing investigations.

The verdict was reached after the jury of seven women and five men deliberated for more than 12 hours today locked away in Courtroom 2 of the Centre County Courthouse. They had begun deliberating around 1:15 p.m. Thursday and ended deliberations for the day about 9:30 p.m.

The prosecution portrayed Sandusky as having led a double life _ a football coach who used his stature in the community to target young boys from The Second Mile, earn their trust and fondle and sexually abuse them.

Sandusky faced 48 counts of abuse of 10 victims, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.

While the jury was deliberating Friday, his defense attorney Joe Amendola seemed resigned that Sandusky would be convicted. Amendola said, "I'll probably die of a heart attack" if Sandusky is acquitted of everything.

Amendola said Sandusky, a churchgoer, spent his last days as a free man with his family and "doing a lot of praying."

Sandusky is expected to be taken to the Centre County Correctional Facility where he'll remain until he's sentenced.

The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon after one week of graphic testimony from eight young men who, sometimes emotionally, described how Sandusky sexually abused them as young boys. Defense witnesses extolled the former coach and Second Mile founder as a pillar of his community who didn't have inappropriate contact with the boys he took under his wing.

Sandusky will next be in court for a sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

What began in Clinton County in 2009 as a report of fondling and morphed into a full-fledged investigation two years later, exploded into a tsunami in November: Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing children, and suspicion that earlier reports were covered up to spare the university ugly embarrassment arose when two Penn State administrators were charged with lying to the grand jury investigating Sandusky and failing to a tell authorities about an incident seen by Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time.

Interest in the case, which already had grabbed national headlines because of former coach Joe Paterno's involvement, heightened when Paterno was fired live on national TV during a late-night press conference by the university's board of trustees. In the same breath, the university president, Graham Spanier, was fired, too.

The university's alumni were outraged that Paterno's legendary career had ended with his humiliation. And outraged Penn State students rioted in downtown State College.

The CEO of The Second Mile resigned and hasn't made any public comments since.

Sandusky was arrested again in December, as the publicity about the charges spurred two more young men to come forward. One of those, an 18-year-old from Mifflin County, told investigators Sandusky abused him in the basement of Sandusky's College Township home.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola complained of the "tidal wave" of presumed guilt, so he set up a phone interview with Bob Costas to be broadcast nationally on NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams." But Sandusky bumbled through the questioning, at one point hesitating before answering Costas' question about whether Sandusky was sexually attracted to young boys.

The hesitation ignited another round of suspicion about whether the former coach led a double life as a pedophile.

Sandusky did an interview with The New York Times, and awkwardly answered a question about that hesitation during the "Rock Center" interview.

An out-of-county judge was assigned to the case because all of Centre County's judges had ties either to Penn State or to The Second Mile and recused themselves.

Senior Judge John Cleland, who was brought in from the McKean County Court of Common Pleas, kept the case moving swiftly, denying defense motions for continuances along the way.

The attorneys traded insults at news conferences, and Cleland put a stop to their talking to the media by implementing a gag order affecting everyone involved in the case.

But it was the attorneys' ability to pick a jury from among Centre County residents that sent the next shockwave from the case. A Penn State student, a retired professor and two Penn State alumni were among those picked to sit on the jury.

During its deliberation, the jury had had requests about the charges that pertain to Sandusky abusing boys who haven't been identified.

The jury wanted to listen to the testimony given by prosecution witness Mike McQueary and defense witness Jonathan Dranov, a local doctor and McQueary family friend. McQueary testified about walking in on Sandusky in a "sexual situation" with a young boy and thought from their positioning they were having intercourse.

Dranov testified that McQueary was flustered about what he saw but didn't use graphic language in his description of it. Dranov said McQueary kept coming back to "sexual sounds" he heard.

The jury also wanted clarification about deciding five counts related to alleged victim No. 8, an unidentified boy whom prosecutors allege Sandusky abused in a Penn State shower in November 2000.

The judge said a hearsay statement made by a janitor who saw it to another couldn't sustain a conviction but circumstantial or other direct evidence could. The janitor who was told about the incident did testify, saying he saw Sandusky in the shower before and after the incident.

The eight men, ages 18 to 28, testified that Sandusky inappropriately touched them and forced them into sexual acts. On the witness stand, an 18-year-old from Clinton County sobbed as he recounted the first time Sandusky performed oral sex on him. A 25-year-old man testified that he was enraged by the abuse after having thought of Sandusky as the father he never had.

Sandusky, who's renowned as a defensive mind and credited as the person who developed Penn State into Linebacker U, couldn't pull off a defensive plan to counter the prosecution's case.

Defense attorneys called mostly character witnesses who testified that Sandusky had a sterling reputation as a do-gooder who started a charity for at-risk children. The defense wanted to humanize Sandusky, so they called his wife, Dottie, who told how he led a busy life as a football coach, a father, grandfather, charity fundraiser and mentor to young children.

She said she never saw anything inappropriate happen between her husband and young boys, and she testified that she knew most of those who had come forward to testify against her husband.

The defense tried to chip away at inconsistencies in prosecution witnesses' testimony.

But it wasn't enough.

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