A FORMER US college football coach has been convicted of 45 count of sexual abuse and is now expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach, was found guilty yesterday after the jury deliberated for less than two days. Sentencing will take place in about three months time.
The AP reports that Sandusky showed little emotion as the verdict was read in court yesterday before he was taken away in handcuffs. The charges related to ten boys aged over 15 at the time of the abuse. Eight took the stand to give evidence of the abuses carried out against them and which dated back to the mid-90s.
Many of the abuse survivors testified that they had not told their families, friends or the police about the abuse which accused assaults in the shower room.
The mother of one accuser, now aged in his mid-20s, had contacted the authorities in 1998 with her suspicions about the abuse. Speaking after the verdict she simply said, “Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.”
Sandusky made no comment as he was taken from the court:
(Video uploaded by AssociatedPress)
Defence attorney Karl Rominger said that an appeal is being planned.
Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011 led to thedismissal of Joe Paterno as Penn State’s head coach and the ousting of university president Graham Spanier. Two university administrators are also facing criminal charges for allegedly failing to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury. Both deny the charges and are awaiting trial.
Responding to yesterday’s verdict, Penn State president Rodney Erickson spoke of the university’s respect for the men who came forward to bring the abuse to light. The university has set up a counselling service “for victims of Mr Sandusky’s conduct”, he added.
“While we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse – both in our community and beyond,” Erickson said in a statement. “The University is committed to ensuring that our campuses are safe for children and to being a constructive participant in building greater awareness of child sexual abuse and the practical steps that can be undertaken to prevent, report and respond to such abuse.”
- Additional reporting by the AP