“Mr. Sandusky, you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers.”
Senior Judge John Cleland told the former Penn State defensive coordinator those 13 words on Friday –– Jerry Sandusky had been found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse of young boys he met through The Second Mile, the charity he founded for at-risk children.
After about 21 hours of deliberation, the court alert email was sent that hundreds of media members had anxiously anticipated since closing arguments were made on June 21: “Court will convene in approximately 20 minutes to receive a verdict.”
Many people were already inside the courtroom at the time because it was reported that Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly was at the courthouse, and some thought this was an indicator that a verdict had been reached.
A few minutes later, as Sandusky’s family, including his wife Dottie, who testified on her husbands’ behalf, entered and took their seats, the courtroom fell silent.
Sandusky, wearing a brown suit, came out of a room in the back of the courtroom with his attorneys and sat between them in front of the judge, just as he sat for many hours during the nine-day trial. But this time, he was waiting to hear what the jury had decided.
Jurors entered the room, sat down and handed over the verdict card to court officials.
Cleland asked Sandusky, his attorneys and prosecutors to stand to hear jurors read the verdict.
Juror four –– an elderly man with gray hair –– stood and read the verdict he and his fellow jurors had decided on.
He said “guilty” 48 times while reading the verdict –– only three times did the word “not” precede it.
Neither Sandusky nor his wife Dottie showed much emotion as he was told that he had been convicted of enough counts of child sexual abuse to send him to jail for the rest of his life.
After the verdict was read, Sandusky’s attorney asked for a poll of the jurors. Each of the 12 confirmed individually that they agreed with the decision juror four read.
Cleland granted the prosecution’s motion to revoke Sandusky’s bail, meaning he would be taken into confinement instead of staying on house arrest.
Sandusky did not have much of a reaction to the verdict or the fact that he would be taken to jail. He shook hands with his attorney, Joe Amendola, across the table as the sheriff came and took Sandusky by the arm and brought him out of the courtroom as Sandusky shot a quick glance at his wife.
He was handcuffed and taken outside into a police car. He was then driven to the Centre County Correctional Facility.
After Sandusky was taken out of the courtroom, Cleland said court was adjourned.
With that, the electronic communication ban inside the courtroom was lifted and reporters tweeted out to followers across the nation who were waiting to hear about Sandusky’s fate and filed updates.
After that, the courtroom became alive again. Some reporters rushed outside, while others clicked away at their keyboards from inside.
As people gathered around the courthouse learned of the verdict, a cheer erupted that was audible even inside Courtroom 1.
As reporters and others filed out of the courtroom, a man who testified in the trial about being sexually abused by Sandusky sat in a row with his family in tears.
He was hunched over crying with family members, who were crying too.
The gag order that Cleland issued for attorneys and others directly involved in the case was also removed, meaning lawyers could speak publicly about the case for the first time since April.
Amendola told reporters inside that he wasn’t surprised by the verdict because of the overwhelming evidence against his client.
During the trial, Sandusky himself did not testify in the case, and afterwards, Amendola explained the reasoning behind this. He confirmed that Sanduksy’s adopted son, Matt, planned to testify as a rebuttal witness if Sandusky took the stand, so they made the decision to keep him from testifying.
Because of this, Amendola thought the fact that he allowed Sandusky to do an interview on television helped his case. The interview was played for jurors during the trial, and Amendola said it was good for them to hear Sandusky defend himself.
Outside of the courtroom, media and others gathered around a podium to hear comments from attorneys and investigators involved in the case.
Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said his initial reaction to the verdict was “gratified.”
Kelly also spoke outside, seven months after her office released the grand jury presentment detailing the charges against Sandusky. She said that now, it’s “time to lift the veil of secrecy that allows predators in our midst.”
She said many lessons should be learned from the case, especially that parents need to inform their children about what child abuse is and how to report it.
After the news of Sandusky’s guilt broke, statements were released by figures involved in the case.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in his statement that he hopes the decision can help the men Sandusky abused on their “path to healing.”
“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,” according to the statement.
The late former head football coach Joe Paterno’s family released a statement, saying the verdict was an “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,” according to the statement.
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Rape said in a statement that the verdict was “just.”
“PCAR commends the victims who courageously testified and told their painful stories after years of harboring the burden of Sandusky’s abuse. Their testimony will ensure that Sandusky will not harm another child,” according to the statement.
At the end of the night, reporters finally began leaving the area, and Bellefonte started to grow quiet for the first time in weeks.
At the same time, Sandusky sat behind bars in the Centre County Correctional Facility, where he will stay until the judge reads him his sentence in about 90 days.