Sandusky Convicted On 45 Counts In Child Sex Abuse Trial, Could Be Sentenced To More Than 400 Years In Prison

UPDATE: Joe Paterno’s family has also released a statement on the verdict.

Paterno, who died from complications of lung cancer five months ago today, served as Penn State football’s head coach before being ousted over the scandal.

The Paterno family called the verdict “an important milestone,” and says the community “owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors.”

Matthew Keys, deputy social media editor at Reuters, tweeted out the statement.

It’s very rare to have these types of cases reversed on appeal, according to former criminal prosecutor Marica Clark, who is currently speaking on CNN.

When a case hinges on credibility, it’s almost never reversed, she said.

“Msgr Lynn in Philly convicted of sex abuse cover up today too. Penn State and Catholic Church have great shame in common. #sandusky” according to a tweet from CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin.

“Penn state has a lot to answer for,” Toobin said on CNN.

“I suspect we will never ever know how many [kids] he abused,” Toobin said. “It has to haunt us how many people knew about this and didn’t come forward.”

Toobin added that he doesn’t think Sandusky will serve his time in the general prison population, which is often too dangerous for child molesters.

Tom Kline, the lawyer for Victim 5, is telling CNN that Sandusky looked at his client adoringly throughout the trial.

UPDATE: Amendola is currently speaking on CNN, saying Sandusky was “distraught and disappointed” after the verdict came in but didn’t say anything.

“Jerry always maintained his innocence and that’s important for us to understand,” he said. “None of us were there when these things happened.”

In further proof of Amendola’s affinity for the spotlight, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “I watch you all the time,” and said “anytime,” when Cooper thanked him for the interview.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is also weighing in on the verdict; he released a statement commending the victims who had “the courage to come forward and testify.”

He also thanked the victims for “proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of these reprehensible crimes,” Corbett said in his statement.

Michael Boni, the attorney for Victim 1, is telling CNN that his client feels empowered by the verdict.

And over on Nancy Grace, a show correspondent described Victim 6’s emotional state a he was (who reportedly approached police back in the late nineties) entering the courthouse for the verdict.

“He was so nervous, he was so nervous,” the correspondent said.

“His mother just bursts into tears,” upon hearing the verdict, the correspondent reported.

Watch the full video here, courtesy of HLN Nancy Grace:

Also on CNN, Victim 6’s mother said about the case, “Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.”

UPDATE: According to the Washington Post, Sandusky will be kept in isolation at the Centre County Correctional Facility. 

UPDATE: Justine Andronici, the attorney for victims Nos. 3 and 7, is currently speaking on CNN, saying her clients were “greatly relieved” and almost in disbelief.

One victim said, “thank God he’s in jail,” while another said the conviction was a “long time coming,” according to the interview.

Both victims said they want to get back to their lives and continue the healing process. Andronici said that she expects there to be civil proceedings.

Don’t expect to hear from any jurors tonight.

Jurors have been prohibited from talking to the press.

Sentencing in the case could come within 90 days.

UPDATE: Penn State has just released a statement about the Sandusky’s conviction. 

“The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly,” the statement read.

“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.”

At the same time the statement was released, Jeffery Toobin, CNN’s legal expert, tweeted there is zero chance he’ll get any of these convictions overturned.

In her ongoing press conference on the courthouse steps Kelly thanked the media for its work raising awareness of the issues in this case.

UPDATE: Attorney General Linda Kelly is introducing her team, as they come out of the courthouse, to cheers. She offers support for the victims.

“This trial was not something they sought but has forced them to deal with demons from their childhood,” says Kelly.

She hopes this will help other children who’ve been molested to come forward.

“Who would believe a kid?” one of the victims asked Kelly. Her reply: “We would believe a kid.”

Kelly says, predators carefully select their victims, in this case underprivileged children. All of them turned to the charity, Second Mile, in their time of need, where we know Jerry Sandusky trolled for victims. 

“We have to continue to shine a light on those dark places where the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world lurk,” says Kelly.

behaviour of those who don’t turn in predators are “abominable.”

UPDATE: Joe Amendola is currently addressing the press assembled outside the courthouse.

“The Sandusky family is very disappointed obviously, but we respect their verdict,” Amendola said, adding the tidal wave of public opinion was against his client.

Amendola compared the case to “attempting to climb Mt. Everest.”

“It was the expected outcome,” Amendola said of the conviction.

However, “we feel we have some decent appeal issues,” he added.

“The prosecution handled the case in an exemplary manner, we congratulate them,” Amendola said, adding the Judge John Cleland was “marvellous.”

When addressing questions about the fact Sandusky didn’t testify, Amendola said he received a call from the Commonwealth informing him the prosecution was considering introducing Matt, Sandusky’s adopted son, as a witness.

The next day the prosecution reportedly said it wouldn’t call Matt Sandusky as a primary witness but possibly as a rebuttal witness.

The commonwealth’s decision put Sandusky’s defence team in a tight spot, because if Sandusky took the stand, prosecutors would almost certainly call Matt to the stand.

“We decided as a legal strategy position to put Jerry on the stand to have Matt come in and testify against him would have destroyed whatever chances he would have had at acquittal,” Amendola said.

Amendola really got the crowd riled up when he said the fact that Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts doesn’t mean he’s sick.

At that point, someone in the audience began screaming, “Do you thinks he’s innocent?” Audience also cheers applause as Amendola states that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Amendola also added he was “shocked” by Matt’s decision to come forward.

“We had anticipated that Matt would be one of our witnesses.”

“Jerry had said Matt has had problems,” Amendola added.

Reporters asked if the convicted assistant coach is now being kept on suicide watch, to which Amendola replied “I don’t know.”

UPDATE: Karl Rominger, Sandusky’s co-counsel, is telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper the former assistant coach had tears in his eyes and has always respected the legal process.

“The judge was very fair to us on many levels,” Rominger told Cooper. “But the judge had many unique rulings because the law in the area was so unclear.”

Rominger said no meaningful plea was ever offered and Sandusky is maintaining his innocence. He said his client plans to appeal.

The co-counsel also told Cooper the defence didn’t have enough time to build a proper case and during the trial it seemed like the government was leading its witnesses.

UPDATE: The Associated Press just tweeted a video of Sandusky walking into the courtroom tonight to hear the jury’s verdict.

In the video he looks pretty calm and collected as he’s driven to the front door.

Here’s the video, courtesy of the AP:

UPDATE: Dottie Sandusky leaves court and hugs and kisses well-wishers. She is likely so stoic because she was prepared for this verdict.

The amount of pain and fragility present in the victims’ testimony had much sway over the jury. 

CNN’s Jason Carroll reporting that the idea of a plea was brought up a number of times but Sandusky refused. He said he was innocent and wanted to fight the charges.

UPDATE: Wife, Dottie Sandusky just blinked as verdicts were read. 

Adopted son Jonathan was overcome with emotion. Victim number 6 hugging his family. Jerry Sandusky leaves the courthouse in handcuffs looking like he’s in shock.

Sandusky will be taken straight to local jail and will probably be put under suicide watch for the next 72 hours.

A conviction on any one of the counts could have brought a life sentence.

UPDATE: CNN reporting guilty on 45 of 48 counts, not guilty on 3 counts. Sentence could total 442 years.

UPDATE: Reuters is filming live outside the courthouse as reporters line up to hear the verdict.

You can watch the live feed here.

UPDATE: In hopefully just a few minutes, we should know whether Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of charges that he molested young boys while he was Assistant Coach of Football at Penn State.

But even Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s lawyer, isn’t expecting a favourable verdict, telling Fox News he would “die of a heart attack” if all charges against Sandusky were dropped.

Reuters reporter Anthony De Rosa has tweeted that the press isn’t allowed to tweet or report the verdict until court has been adjourned.

ORIGINAL: It’s being reported by NYTimes and CBS News that jurors in the Sandusky trial have reached a verdict.

Stay here for live update. Press will not be allowed to tweet or report the verdict until the court has been adjourned.

Verdict to come in 15 minutes. All of the 48 counts must be read through. If convicted, Sandusky could receive up to 500 years in jail. 

For the past two days, a jury of five men and seven women has been deliberating.

The announcement comes just a day after prosecutors released alarming letters Sandusky allegedly wrote to one of his accusers, identified only as Victim 4. 

Sandusky’s adopted son Matt also announced Thursday he was abused by the former assistant coach.

There’s been speculation that because of the short deliberation, a mere 21 hours, the verdict could come in guilty.

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