Jerry Sandusky is a former Penn State assistant football coach who is accused of molesting boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded in 1977 to help troubled and underprivileged children. He served as an assistant coach at Penn State from 1969 until 1999 when he retired to work with the foundation full time.
According to prosecutors, Sandusky allegedly used his position at Penn State and the charity to serially victimize minors. After a nearly two years investigation, Sandusky was arrested in November of 2011 and charged with 40 criminal counts.
Questions about his arrest and Penn State’s handling of multiple allegations that staff members had seen Sandusky raping victims in the Nittany Lions’ locker room (where he had access to after retiring from the team) resulted in the ouster of longtime coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.
Sandusky, 68, is now being tried on 52 counts relating to sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a span of 15 years. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Alleged Victims
Though the number of victims is believed to be more, prosecutors have a list of 10 victims in charging documents. Of the 10, eight are expected to be called as witnesses. The alleged victims are expected to testify that they were all between the ages of 10 and 17 when they molested by Sandusky, many for many years. All of them met Sandusky at The Second Mile Charity.
Jerry Sandusky’s lead defense attorney. Since signing onto the case, he has made a few missteps, according to most experts including:
• Letting his client appear on NBC’s “Rock Center”, where Sandusky acknowledged to Bob Costas that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with children (though denied molesting them)
• Holding a press conference on the court steps in November, saying that there will be no plea negotiation and “this is a fight to the death” and asked anyone believing one witness’ claims to call 1-800-REALITY. When reporters did that, they discovered it was a gay sex hotline.
Other facts about him:
• He once impregnated a 16-year-old client (and later married her).
So far during the trial:
He argued in his opening statements that most of the victims were out for money, had troubled pasts and were lying.
Lead prosecutor in the case. He’s Pennsylvania’s senior deputy attorney general. According to the Patriot-News he is best known, before this trial, for his prosecution of multimillionaire John E. du Pont, who was accused of killing an Olympic wrestler at his home 15 years ago.
An assistant football coach at Penn State who also played quarterback at the storied university in the 1990s. He is a key witness in the case. He allegedly saw Sandusky raping a young boy in the Penn State locker room in 2002, when he was working as a graduate assistant. He claims that he told head football coach Joe Paterno about what he saw. He was placed on administrative leave in November of 2011 and filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit against the university in May.
The legendary longtime coach of the Nittany Lions. He was fired in November after questions arose over his handling of McQueary's claims. He died of lung cancer shortly after he hung up his coaching whistle.
The former Penn State president, who was ousted among claims he did not do enough in the wake of the allegations against Sandusky. NBC reported this week that emails between Spanier and other university officials show he was involved in a cover-up of the allegations. Of his most regrettable actions: Making a statement in November vouching "unconditional support" for two other university officials who would later also be fired and charged with perjury.
Penn State former athletic director. Before his death, Paterno claimed he had notified Curley of McQueary's claims about Sandusky. Curley is now also facing perjury charges.
Jerry Sandusky's wife. One victim testified that she questioned her husband after finding Sandusky in the bathroom with him during a trip to the Alamo Bowl in 1999, while another said that she ignored his screams for help when he was in the basement of their family home. She issued a statement denying these claims and her husband's guilt.
Filled with Penn State connections (as is most of the area). One juror, according to reports, is a Penn State senior.
While allegations against Sandusky were investigated as early as 1998, the latest investigation was triggered in 2009 when an alleged victim’s mother reported allegations of sexual assault to her son’s school. The school, following legal protocol, reported the incident to police, triggering an investigating by the Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General. In September of 2010, Sandusky retired from The Second Mile and was charged in November of 2011.
The numerous victims and overall reports over Sandusky’s crimes put a microscope on the University, leaving many to wonder how such a large number of people could have so badly failed to protect children from the accused serial predator.
Many of those questions will continue to go unanswered. In 1998, Ray Gricar, the district attorney for Pennsylvania’s Centre County investigated claims that Sandusky had abused young boys – including testimony from two law enforcement officers that they overheard Sandusky admitting he showered with young boys. It is unclear why Sandusky wasn't charged then -- and that answer may never be known. In 2005, Gricar disappeared. He was declared legally dead, but his body has never been found.