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Jerry Sandusky Guilty: Verdict Reached In Child Molestation Trial Of Former Penn State Football Coach

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Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Jerry Sandusky entered the Centre County Courthouse Friday as one of the most celebrated figures in the history of Penn State sports. He left a convicted child molester.

Following two days of jury deliberations, Sandusky was found guilty Friday of molesting several young boys.

The 68-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 criminal counts related to the alleged assault of 10 boys over a 15-year period. The allegations led to the ouster of the late Penn State University president and long-time coach Joe Paterno, who died in January.

[Click here for latest updates.]

Prosecutors said Sandusky was a "predatory pedophile" and a "sick, disturbed man," who targeted "the most vulnerable kids, kids in need."

Defense lawyer Joe Amendola said Sandusky was the victim of a grand conspiracy and that prosecutors provided no physical evidence to prove he had molested anyone. Because of the allegations, "everything [Jerry Sandusky] ever loved, everything he's ever built, and everything he's ever stood for -- it's gone," Amendola said.

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Sandusky did not testify on his own behalf, but his wife, Dottie Sandusky, did take the stand. She said she never witnessed any inappropriate contact between her husband and the young boys.

The case has attracted widespread media coverage, as Sandusky was one of the most notable assistant football coaches in the country and the founder of The Second Mile, a nonprofit charity for underprivileged and at-risk youth.

People reacted with unrestrained joy when word of the verdict reached the crowd outside the courthouse. Some were chanting "Justice," while others sat on the sidewalk in lawn chairs to enjoy the spectacle.

"Our grandson was best friends with Victim No. 1," Bill Andrus told The Huffinton Post. "They were on the junior high wrestling team together. So knowing Victim No. 1, we had a personal interest and were hopeful it would come out this way."

Kelly Houp, who lives in Bellefonte, had harsh words for the Sandusky family.

"I knew he was guilty," she said. "All those kids would not lie. Everyone knew he did it. Dottie knew too and she should be hung."

Crime expert Scott A. Bonn, an assistant professor of sociology at Drew University, called the decision "a certainty."

"This case shocked the nation, violated our collective sense of morality and demonstrated that our children may not be safe from sexual predators after all,” Bonn said. “The jury had a moral obligation to society to convict Sandusky, and the only verdict that could restore public trust and equilibrium is guilty. I would have been shocked by any other verdict.”

Sentencing is expected to take place within 90 days.

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"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone." (via Pete Thamel)

"The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service."

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."

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Governor Corbett released a statement on the Sandusky guilty verdict.

First, I want to thank the jury for their willingness to serve on such a difficult case. I also want to commend the multiple victims in this case who had the courage to come forward and testify in court, confronting Sandusky, and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of these reprehensible crimes.

The agents and prosecutors of the Attorney General’s Office, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, also deserve a great deal of credit for today’s verdict. They pursued every lead, gathering evidence from multiple victims, in order to bring this man to justice.

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David Lohr in Bellefonte reports that Sandusky's lawyers are vowing to appeal.

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@ kevcirilli : AG LINDA KELLY: We have to continue to focus on child sexual abuse, to shine light on dark places of the Jerry #Sandusky's of the world.

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According to Anne Danahy of the Centre Daily Times, Joe Amendola said Jerry Sandusky disputed his adopted son Matt's allegations of inappropriate touching. Danahy also tweeted that the jurors decline to be available for comment.

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Penn State has released a statement on the Sandusky verdict:

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

The Board of Trustees and current administration maintain a steadfast commitment to pursuing the truth regarding Mr. Sandusky’s actions. 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. 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.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STATEMENT

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According to Pete Thamel, Penn State will release a statement on the verdict in five or 10 minutes.

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@ PeteThamelNYT : Crowd goes bonkers when Amendola says it'll be a life sentence for Sandusky.

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@ sganim : Amendola was heckled when claiming #Sandusky is innocent at the steps of the courthouse

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@ AnneDanahy : Amendola says "the jury's spoken," but appeals still being considered

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From HuffPost Crime reporter David Lohr:

The verdict came fast, much faster than anyone was expecting. People began chanting when they heard "guilty." They chanted, "Justice!" Nobody seemed disappointed.

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The verdict of guilty on 45 of 48 charges was greeted by cheers outside of the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.

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Jerry Sandusky is guilty of 45 of the 48 counts against him.

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Both Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin anticipate a guilty verdict. Marcia Clark also anticipates a conviction.

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More from David Lohr in Bellefonte:

We won't be able to get the word out quick. The judge issues a memorandum in which no media outlet is allowed to announce the verdict. Any journalist who breaks that rules is going to be subject to sanctions. We aren't sure what those sanctions are.

If they try to arrest me, I'm just going to say I'm Buck Wolf, my editor.

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@ DanWetzel : Sandusky enters court, takes seat at defense table without ever looking at his family

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From HuffPost Crime reporter David Lohr:

Sandusky just got here. The judge is going to call the court into session. Legal analysts tell me this is going to take about an hour. Each juror is going to have to verbally affirm their decision.

When Sandusky was walking in, one guy yelled, "Sandusky you suck!"

I would say there are close to 75 people in front of the courthouse, dozens of media outlets

Some people brought lawn chairs.

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There is no electronic transmissions permitted while court is in session and the 48 counts are being addressed. We'll find out at the very end and all at once.

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Court will reportedly convene at 9:50 for the verdict to be read.

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@ sganim : There is a verdict #SanduskyTrial

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@ cnnross : There sure are a lot of tweeps gearing up for a Friday night verdict. Hope the jurors don't disappoint. #hardtotell #Sandusky

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@ MinkNate : At 8:39 p.m., court announces jury deliberations continue. Smart money is on a Saturday spent in Bellefonte #Sandusky

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@ cvmikesisak : Court stenographer is in place. Not sure if this is a sign of anything. No updates from court officials yet. #sandusky

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@ PatriotNews : Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly just arrived at Centre County Courthouse for Sandusky deliberations. #sandusky

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According to Nate Mink of StateCollege.com, Joe Amendola was talking to reporters inside the Centre County Courthouse. Per the report, Amendola said he would "die of a heart attack" if Jerry Sandusky is acquitted.

Judge Cleland reportedly asked to see him afterward.

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@ matthewkemeny : Court email: Jurors will be breaking for dinner from 6:30 to 7:30. #sandusky

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@ Minemyerchip : Judge asks to see #sandusky attorney Joe Amendola.

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Most recent update comes from Michael Sisak who tweeted that the jurors are ordering dinner and deliberations continue.

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