On the steps of the courthouse where a jury convicted Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing young boys, Pennsylvania Atty. Gen. Linda Kelly thanked the victims who faced a packed courthouse -- and their attacker – to tell their stories.
“The victims… have shown great strength and courage, candidly and sometimes chillingly telling their stories,” Kelly said. “Not only to the jury in a packed courtroom… but also to the entire world.”
After 21 hours of deliberation at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., a jury of seven women and five men on Friday night convicted the former Penn State coach of 45 charges related to the sexual assault of 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky, 68, is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Sandusky was arrested Dec. 12, 2011. The grand jury indictment leading to his arrest stemmed from the allegations of several people who said Sandusky had mentored them as young boys, then molested them -– sometimes in the locker room showers of the Penn State football team and in the basement of his home.
The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded for disadvantaged children, was a haven for a sexual predator, Kelly said. It served as a hub where he could have his pick of victims -– young boys from broken homes, or those with foster parents, or those from single-parent families, or those grappling with behavioral and emotional problems.
“All of them, in their time of need, turned to the charity known as the Second Mile, where we now know that Jerry Sandusky trolled for victims,” Kelly said in a televised news conference after the verdict.
She said the fact that the state eventually listened to the stories of the victims was a testament to the justice system.
“One of the recurring themes of the victims’ testimony was, ‘Who would believe a kid?’ ” Kelly said. “And the answer is, ‘We here in Bellefonte, Pa., will believe a kid.’ A jury of 12 people in Bellefonte, Pa., most definitely would and did believe a kid.”
Kelly thanked those who had pursued the case to the end, although it concerned a public and popular figure who had seemed beyond the reach of the law.
Prosecutors worked “not merely to win the case, but to see that justice shall be done,” Kelly said. A nearby bell tower chimed the hour as she continued, “the two-fold aim of which is: Guilt shall not escape, nor shall innocence suffer.”