LAW -- June 23, 2012 at 1:35 PM EDT
Ex-Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky Convicted on 45 Counts
Jerry Sandusky in custody outside the courthouse. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The scandal began over seven months ago, when accusations that a Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky, had sexually abused boys sent shock waves through the college campus and led to the firing of the university's beloved head coach, Joe Paterno, who was criticized for not not taking adequate measures after learning of his assistant coach's actions.
Late Friday, after a jury in Bellefonte, Pa. deliberated for 21 hours over two days, Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a period of 15 years.
NYT NEWS ALERT: Sandusky Is Found Guilty on 45 of 48 Counts in Child Sexual Abuse Case— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 23, 2012
Penn State issued a statement Friday, casting light on the nature of pedophilia on the national level.
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 Paterno family also issued a statement after the announcement:
Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone. 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.
Sandusky will likely face a sentence of life in prison, according to legal analysis provided to The Christian Science Monitor.
Legal experts say the overwhelming number of accusers and evidence, ranging from love letters Sandusky penned to an eyewitness testimony to the abuse, were too much of a hurdle for the defense to overcome. They helped establish a narrative that Sandusky was a predatory pedophile.
Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach filed after the verdict was called. He wrote, "When the news of the verdict reached a throng gathered outside the courthouse, a huge cheer went up."
Achenbach was on the NewsHour Thursday as the jury began their deliberations and described closing arguments:
The prosecutor had the most dramatic moment. He gave kind of a rambling, folksy close. He seemed to lose his train of thought. But at the very end, he walked over and stood directly behind and next to Jerry Sandusky, who kind of whirled around and seemed alarmed.
NewsHour began its coverage on Nov. 7 2011, as the sexual abuse scandal started to rock Penn State's storied football program.
For more on how the story unfolded:
Penn State Ousts Paterno, Spanier | Nov. 10, 2011
Defense Makes Closing Arguments in Sandusky Trial | June 21, 2012
Sandusky arriving at the courthouse. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)