Click HERE to watch a CrimeLine special where Jon Leiberman and I discuss Jerry Sandusky’s guilty verdict and what lies ahead for him and Penn State University. After nearly 21 hours of deliberation, the jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 of 48 counts Friday night.
Sandusky was seen being whisked into a police car in handcuffs. Now he will remain in jail until sentencing, which must happen within 90 days. His attorney, Joe Amendola, says sentencing will likely be in September. This is so he has time to collect all the character witnesses he can to try to attest to the idea that his client, despite being a sexual predator, was a good man and deserves leniency. Yet, its not going to work. Sandusky faces 442 years in jail for those 45 counts, and even if the judge were to decide to sentence him to concurrent instead of consecutive prison terms, Jerry Sandusky will die in jail. The judge will likely sentence him to consecutive terms to send a message that this villainous behavior is never tolerated and to try to help the victims find closure. Either way, at 68 years old now, Sandusky will be in jail the rest of his life. He will likely be in solitary confinement, or something similar, as sexual predators are usually targets in prison.
We’ll also have to see when/if Sandusky will grant a media interview. Based off his interviews with NBC and The New York Times, we all know he loves to talk and will want to try to defend his reputation. It would be a very dumb move for him to grant an interview pre-sentencing, but in Sandusky’s mind he may think he could try to convince the judge he deserves a lenient sentence. Whoever does interview him, you better bet the first question will be about his own adopted son, Matt, and his allegations of abuse.
In terms of an appeal, which Amendola indicated he will file, it won’t be successful. The only grounds for an appeal he’d have is if the judge did something wrong or there was jury misconduct. The jury was sequestered, and there was no misconduct I’m aware of, so that won’t work. The judge also did his job and didn’t miss a beat in jury instructions. Some people were upset the judge had told jurors they must consider whether Sandusky’s intent was sexual, but he covered his bases and now Amendola has no chance of claiming the judge did something wrong. Amendola even praised the judge and jury last night, saying they did a good job, and in the same breath said he plans to file an appeal. Basically, fat chance that appeal would be successful.
What’s next is a slew of civil suits filed against Penn State University. The Second Mile has been dissolved, so all suits will be directed at the university, and trust me, more victims will come out of the wood works. The university is likely to be involved in these civil suits for at least a year, likely leading to individual, confidential settlements. At the end of the day, because of Jerry Sandusky, the university will probably spend more than $100 million dollars in defense and settlement costs. PSU also has to pay for the defense of athletic director Tim Curley and VP Gary Schultz, even though they were fired, this all happened while they were still employees of the school.
The important message here, which the prosecution very eloquently spoke about after the verdict last night, is that we must not forget the lessons of this tragic case. People who witness child sexual abuse have a responsibility to speak up. Law enforcement must take CSA allegations seriously, and these victims must be believed. Hopefully, other silent CSA survivors will now be empowered to speak out. For more on what you can do to try to raise awareness about child sex abuse, educate parents and children and try to prevent this tragedy from ever occurring again, read my call to action.