News guide to the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky - InfoNews

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News guide to the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky

June 22, 2012 - 11:40 PM

Jerry Sandusky was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, with the jury finding him guilty of 45 of 48 counts. Sandusky, 68, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, showed little emotion as the verdict was read. The judge ordered him to be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months. He faces the possibility of life in prison. The verdict capped two weeks of often graphic testimony from eight accusers.

CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT MAY BE DISTURBING

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Q: WHAT WERE THE CHARGES?

A: Sandusky was charged with 48 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span dating back to the mid-1990s. The charges were nine counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, nine counts of indecent assault, nine counts of unlawful contact with a minor, 10 counts of corruption of minors, 10 counts of endangering a child's welfare and one count of attempted indecent assault.

At the beginning of trial, Sandusky faced 52 counts.

One count of unlawful contact with a minor was dropped mid-trial because the statute didn't apply at the time of the alleged encounter.

The judge threw out three counts after testimony ended: two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of aggravated indecent assault. The judge said the first two charges did not bear out what testimony revealed and the third was the same as another count.

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Q: NOW THAT SANDUSKY HAS BEEN CONVICTED, WHAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT COULD HE RECEIVE?

A: Had the jury found him guilty of all charges, the maximum possible sentence would have added up to about 500 years. Sandusky's lawyer Joseph Amendola called it a "life sentence." Sandusky went to the Centre County Correctional Facility immediately after the judge revoked his bail and ordered him jailed.

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Q: WHO WERE HIS ACCUSERS? WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

A: The eight known accusers, who now range in age from 18 to 28, met Sandusky through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for helping children from troubled or single-parent families. Their testimony described how Sandusky bought them gifts, took them to football games and had them stay in a spare bedroom in his home for overnight sleepovers. Investigators say they don't know the identities of the two other alleged victims.

The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6 was in the courtroom when the verdicts were read, and broke down in tears. The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the "tickle monster" in a shower assault. His mother said: "Nobody wins. We've all lost."

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Q: HOW DID SANDUSKY EXPLAIN HIS ACTIONS?

A: Sandusky has acknowledged publicly that he "horsed around" with young boys, showered with them after workouts, hugged them and had other physical contact but said he never acted with sexual intent. He said in interviews after his arrest that he is not a pedophile but in retrospect realizes that he should not have showered with the boys. Sandusky did not testify in his own defence, but his wife, Dottie, did the take stand in support of her husband.

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Q: WHAT WAS THE DEFENCE TEAM'S STRATEGY?

A: In his opening statement to the jury, defence lawyer Joseph Amendola said the accusers' allegations were flimsy and suggested that some of them have a financial stake in the outcome because they want to sue Sandusky and others. During cross-examination, Amendola also tried to undermine the credibility of the young men, as well as former football team assistant Mike McQueary, who testified seeing Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy in 2001.

Amendola also suggested some of his client's interactions with boys are not indicative of pedophilia but of histrionic personality disorder, a condition in which someone behaves in a dramatic fashion to get attention.

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Q: WHY WAS THERE NO LIVE-TWEETING OR VIDEO COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL?

A: Judge John Cleland, who was brought in from a county 130 kilometres away to preside over the proceedings, barred reporters from sending any electronic transmission from inside the courtroom or a nearby media centre where dozens of reporters are watching the proceedings. The restriction is not unusual in Pennsylvania courtrooms.

Also, Pennsylvania Supreme Court regulations prohibit all types of cameras and broadcasting equipment in courtrooms during criminal proceedings. The rules give judges in the state's appellate courts discretion to allow cameras, but only in non-jury, civil proceedings.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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