Seven months after the scandal that shook the nation first erupted at Penn State, a verdict in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial has been reached.
The verdict: Guilty.
Guilty on 45 of 48 counts to be more specific.
Jerry Sandusky, Despicable Monster
Many legal analysts have said this means that the former Penn State assistant coach will be sentenced to somewhere between 300-400 years in prison (maximum of 442 years).
In other words, Jerry Sandusky is going away for the rest of his life.
I’m sure this verdict comes to as a surprise to no one. Even Sandusky’s own attorney, Joe Amendola, said that he’d be shocked and “die of a heart attack” if his client was acquitted on all counts. But that doesn’t make it any less sweet as an act of justice, especially for the victims that fell prey to the sick and monstrous acts committed by Sandusky.
Sandusky was hired on to the Penn State coaching staff in 1969, serving under legendary coach Joe Paterno. He remained at the school until his retirement in 1999, serving as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator during the years in which the Nittany Lions’ defense, especially its linebackers corps, were feared across the college football world. He was beloved by his players and by many around the football program, and his players carried him on his shoulders following his final victory in the 1999 Alamo Bowl.
Not only was he considered one of the best college football coaches in the nation, he was also praised for his massive amount of charity work.
Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977, a charitable organization that provided help to at-risk children. Prominent politicians such as President George H.W. Bush and Senator Rick Santorum both praised the organization, and many notable figures including Arnold Palmer, Mark Wahlberg, Franco Harris, Andy Reid, Matt Millen and others were involved with The Second Mile.
Despite the good the organization did for at-risk children, it is now known that Sandusky used his charity as a place to meet nearly all of his victims. In fact, all of the victims that testified at the trial met him through The Second Mile.
For so many years Jerry Sandusky committed acts that were despicable and unthinkable, proving he wasn’t the saint so many people made him out to be. These acts of abuse continued for years, and almost nobody knew. That is, until a grand jury indicted Sandusky in November 2011 on charges of sex crimes that were committed between 1994 and 2009.
This indictment would lead to the scandal at Penn State, which ended up causing Paterno to lose his job, something that seemed out of the realm of possibility before the scandal broke.
The controversy with Paterno was over an incident that occurred in 2002, when Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary saw Sandusky with a young boy in the locker room showers. McQueary told Coach Paterno about what he saw, and Paterno relayed this information to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who oversaw the university’s police department. The only action taken was to ban Sandusky from bringing kids into the football building, an action approved by school president Graham Spanier.
Paterno was criticized for not making sure that school officials contacted authorities. Most felt that while he fulfilled his legal obligation, he had not fulfilled his moral obligation.
Paterno, McQueary, Spanier, Schultz, and Curley all lost their jobs, with Schultz and Curley both facing criminal charges. However, they weren’t the only ones to allow Sandusky to roam free. There were many others that have been accused of turning a blind eye to his abuse.
But this day isn’t about them. It’s about Sandusky and his victims.
Partial Justice Served For Sandusky’s Victims
If you followed the details of this trial and the testimony of the victims, you heard some of the most awful things that you may ever hear in your life.
The atrocities committed by Sandusky were stated by the victims in graphic detail when the victims took the stand, and they spoke of awful, sick, twisted, and demented acts of horror perpetrated by a man that referred to himself as the “tickle monster.”
When the prosecutor asked Victim 9 to point out who abused him, he pointed at Sandusky, but couldn’t bring himself to look at the man that made his life, and the lives of countless others, a living hell.
And then there was the defense’s weak and pathetic claim that all the victims were conspiring against Sandusky in an attempt to get money. If anyone actually believes that load of BS, then they don’t deserve to have an opinion on the matter.
My heart and the hearts of millions ache terribly for the victims that had to take the stand to get the man that scarred them behind bars. They shouldn’t have had to relive their horror stories to a bunch of strangers in a courtroom. But as ESPN writer Rick Reilly pointed out, Sandusky didn’t plead guilty. He forced them to relive the evil and sick things he did to them.
The survivors of Jerry Sandusky’s reign of terror managed to make it through, and it finally paid off.
Justice was served to Sandusky (five months to the day that Joe Paterno died of lung cancer), and the victims that testified against him were able to get a little bit of redemption, as their abuser is headed to prison for the rest of his life, where hopefully he’s given what he deserves by some of the inmates.
Even though Sandusky is going away forever, the scars will always be there for the survivors. For many, their peace of mind has been tarnished forever, ruined by this horrible man. The nightmares will still be there, even if Sandusky is trapped behind bars.
The monster is gone, but the damage is done.
As the mother of Victim 6 said after the verdict was handed down:
“Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.”