What's next in the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sex abuse case?
Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of sex abuse involving 10 boys over 15 years, but the story is not over. There will be further investigations, the trial of two former Penn State officials, civil lawsuits against the university by Sandusky's victims, and a likely appeal of the conviction.
Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/AP
After an emotionally-wrenching trial, Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. The court list of boys (by number, not name) and the horrors they experienced is difficult to read.
Now, Sandusky – the former assistant football coach at Penn State, thought to have been a loving mentor to many boys – awaits sentencing, knowing that he likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
But the story is far from over.
• His lawyers say they will appeal the case, declaring that they were not given enough time to prepare for what they say was a rushed trial.
"We told the trial court, the Superior Court, and the Supreme Court we were not prepared to proceed to trial in June due to numerous issues, and we asked to withdraw from the case for those reasons," attorney Joe Amendola told the Associated Press.
• Two former Penn State administrators – athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz – faces charges of lying to a grand jury about an incident in 2001 when then-assistant coach (and former Penn State quarterback) Mike McQueary says he came upon Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a football team shower.
• At least some accusers – more may emerge, including one of Sandusky’s adopted sons – are likely to sue Penn State for failing to act on early reports of abuse and then of covering them up over the years.
“Already, six of the eight accusers who testified against Sandusky at trial have retained lawyers,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday. “And two other purported victims who were not part of the state's case have filed suits against the university for an alleged failure to act.”
Penn State, with an endowment of $1.8 billion, would prefer to settle such cases out of court.
“The University plans to invite victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse to participate in a program to facilitate the resolution of claims against the University arising out of Mr. Sandusky's conduct,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement immediately after Friday’s verdict. “The purpose of the program is simple – the University wants to provide a forum where the University can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the University.”
Meanwhile, Penn State students, faculty, and administration are trying to sort out their university’s scandal, many of them looking to a special website including news and legal sources, perspectives from students and faculty, and discussion materials.
“The Sandusky sex abuse scandal has turned Penn State upside down,” the website states, “and many students are struggling to make sense of recent events.”
Earlier this month, the institution finalized a new administrative policy "Reporting Suspected Child Abuse." The policy requires that all University employees “must complete mandated reporter training annually.”
“In addition,” the policy states, “if any University employee willfully fails to report a case of suspected child abuse, it will result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal."
The Nittany Lions open their 2012 football season Sept. 1 against Ohio University. A new coach has been named to replace Joe Paterno – one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history – who was fired in the wake of the Sandusky scandal and died less than three months later at age 85.
"Time is going to have to heal the image and perception," former Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge told the AP. "That's going to happen sooner for some, later for others. It's going to take time for people to think about Penn State and Penn State football without thinking about the Jerry Sandusky scandal."