By: Lauren Saccone
On Friday, the trial of Jerry Sandusky came to a dramatic conclusion. The former Penn State assistant football coach had been accused of molesting 10 young boys over a period of 15 years; the jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse and child endangerment.
Sandusky, 68, is currently under suicide watch in jail pending a psychological evaluation. Despite the sometimes graphic testimony of 8 victims detailing the sexual abuse, the former coach maintains that he is innocent on all counts.
“He’s defiant and wants the truth to be told,” defense lawyer Karl Rominger told reporters. “He wants people to know that he’s not guilty.” On Monday, Judge John Cleland ordered Sandusky to undergo an evaluation to determine whether or not he qualifies as a sexual predator.
Sandusky could be facing over 400 years in prison for his assorted crimes. Even his defense team agrees that, considering the rules of sentencing, Sandusky will most likely die in prison.
In the meantime, his legal team is already preparing to file an appeal. Key among their evidence will be a news interview that aired on NBC last November, when the case first came to light. In the controversial interview, Sandusky was asked if he was sexually attracted to young boys. Sandusky responded by repeating the question. But in the version that ultimately aired, the exchange was repeated a second time. NBC has stated that this was a technical glitch that producers did not notice at the time the interview aired.
Prosecutors remain confident that despite this gaffe, their case against Sandusky is strong. The compelling testimony and surplus of evidence against Sandusky, in their opinion, will not be damaged by a few seconds of video. The defense already failed to use the video in their attempt to have a mistrial declared.
“I think the jury demonstrated with their convictions on 45 of 48 counts that this was an ironclad case,” Governor Tom Corbett told CBS.
With the criminal case settled, the civil cases have begun. Travis Weaver, who claims Sandusky sexually abused him over 100 times when he was a young boy, has filed suit against the former coach as well as Penn State and Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile. Penn State is attempting to deal with any potential civil suits in as quiet a manner as possible. In an official statement, it was made clear that, “the university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims’ concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the university.”
In all this legal drama, it’s easy to forget the people at the center of this case – Sandusky’s victims.
“I really feel for the victims and any other victims that are out there that haven’t come forward,” juror Ann Van Kuren told The Washington Post. “That all of them need to heal. I’m hoping that this trial, with this verdict, will help them heal.”
[Pic via Flickr - Padraic]