Verdict

06.22.12

Sandusky Guilty Verdict: What's Next for Jerry

As Sandusky sits under suicide watch at a county jail, his lawyers have vowed an appeal. Diane Dimond on what the former coach has to look forward to in prison—and back in court.

Jerry Sandusky was alert but ashen as he stood at the defense table to hear his fate. His wife and several family members sat in the row directly behind him. As verdicts were read aloud on all 48 of the counts of deviant sexual abuse of young boys, Sandusky began to sway on his feet, his hands plunged into his pants pockets. 

Guilty, guilty, guilty. The word reverberated throughout the stock-still courtroom. Sandusky kept his gaze locked down on the verdict sheet held by the defense attorney on his left. The time was 9:55 p.m. 

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Diane Dimond reports from outside the courthouse.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. The foreman worked his way down the lengthy list of charges: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, attempted indecent assault on a child.  

The jury even found Jerry Sandusky guilty on both of the two charges in which there were no identified victims. The panel found the testimony of assistant Penn State coach Michael McQueary sufficient to find Sandusky guilty of sexually attacking victim No. 2—a prepubescent boy—in the gym showers in February 2001. (Although they found the defendant not guilty of actually penetrating the young boy)

Victim No. 8 was also never identified, but the testimony of a Penn State janitor was enough for the jury to find Sandusky guilty of all five charges related to that child. 

Sandusky remained passive at the defense table, never once looking up at his family. His attorney, Joe Amendola, told reporters the family had been prepared for this. "They've been doing a lot of praying," Amendola said, "anticipating the possibility that Jerry may not come home."

In one of the middle rows of this ceremonial courtroom was one lone accuser—now properly referred to as a victim—who made it to the courtroom in time to hear the verdicts. He was listed as No. 6 on the indictment, a recent graduate of a Bible college. He sat with his eyes closed as if in prayer as the foreman took his time reading.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. When it was over, the 25-year-old victim and his family hunched over in the courtroom pew in a sobbing group hug. 

As for the defendant, his bail was immediately revoked and he was handcuffed and led out the door by a sheriff and deputy.

Already, a massive crowd was roaring in approval outside the Centre County courthouse.

Sandusky, 68, will now have to adjust to a life that will be very different from his heyday as a revered member of the Penn State football family and his privileged retirement as the respected founder of the now-defunct Second Mile Charity. 

A member of Sandusky's defense team has already vowed an appeal.

As a new inmate at the Centre County Correctional facility just a few miles from the home he's shared with his wife of 46 years, he will be allowed to bring in two pairs of shoes (no boots allowed) and six pairs of white undershorts, undershirts, and socks. If he chooses, he may also bring eyeglasses, a few personal photographs, letters, and a Bible. Like other inmates, he will be fingerprinted, have a mug shot taken, and be quarantined in a solitary cell for several days. Neither Dottie Sandusky nor any of his adopted children will be allowed to call or visit during this time. It's a good bet his youngest son, Matt, who just this week said he was a victim of his adoptive father's sexual urges, will not be among his visitors

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Rob Carr / Getty Images

Sandusky will likely stay in county custody for about two months, and there he'll have to submit to evaluation by the Sexual Offender Assessment Program. Under the Commonwealth's Megan's Law, his name will automatically be added to Pennsylvania's sex-offender registry.

After sentencing, which defense attorney Joe Amendola said he expects will come in September or October, Sandusky will be transferred to the state facility at Camp Hill, where he will again be evaluated to see which of Pennsylvania's prisons is the best fit. He will most likely be assigned to the minimum-security Laurel Highlands State Prison, which has a special geriatric unit.

It won't be so easy for Dottie Sandusky to visit her husband there. Laurel Highlands is southwest of her home, in Somerset, Pa., about a three-hour drive.

And even though the former Penn State coach is now incarcerated, it doesn't mean the Sandusky saga is over. There are pending criminal perjury trials for two former Penn State officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, in which Sandusky's name and deeds will be front and center. There is also a recently filed civil suit brought by a 30-year-old man named Travis Weaver, who openly told his story to NBC news. Weaver claims Sandusky began molesting him in 1992 when he was a 10-year-old attending Second Mile events. He alleges at least 100 instances of sexual contact with Sandusky at Penn State's locker rooms, the Sandusky home, and in a hotel when the former coach took him to the 1995 Rose Bowl in California.

Weaver is seeking damages from Sandusky, Second Mile, and Penn State.

Court documents also reveal the investigation into Sandusky's behavior with young boys remains officially open, and there is mention made of additional alleged victims Nos. 11 through 19. It's unknown whether the Commonwealth will pursue further action—whether Matt Sandusky would become No. 20 on that list.