The verdict was close to thorough, but the jury actually cleared Jerry Sandusky of three charges late Friday night. One was the alleged rape of Victim 2, the boy former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary saw Sandusky assaulting in a Penn State football building shower in 2001. McQueary's grand jury testimony, of course, was the domino that brought down several top Penn State officials: charges of perjury and failure to report abuse against two administrators, which led to the firings of Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier. So does an acquittal on that one, solitary rape charge mean everyone else at Penn State is off the hook? Hardly.
In the end, five of the 48 counts Sandusky faced were directly related to what McQueary witnessed. And on all four of the others, Sandusky was found guilty: indecent assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children. Based on his testimony, the jury believed McQueary saw something that night, and while it couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt he had witnessed a full-on rape, there was no doubting what McQueary had stumbled upon was criminal.
In fact, McQueary's testimony was crucial to the jury's overall finding of guilt on 45 of those 48 counts. Take what juror Joshua Harper, a high school chemistry teacher, told The New York Times in an interview on Saturday:
As emotional and wrenching as the accounts were from the eight victims who testified, Harper said the grimmest and most significant testimony came from Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant, who said he interrupted a sexual assault by his former coach against a young boy in the showers at the university's football center.
"It was just eye-opening on all the things that happened because we got a whole lot of detail on what Sandusky was doing," Harper said.
According to numerous reports, Penn State will be the target of several civil lawsuits filed on behalf of many of Sandusky's victims. The trial for the two Penn State administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, has not been scheduled. There is an ongoing federal investigation of a cover-up. When all is said and done, Spanier, too, may wind up facing criminal charges. And, by all indications, former FBI director Louis Freeh is not conducting his separate investigation of the school while clutching blue and white pom poms, according to Sara Ganim:
Several people interviewed by the investigators have told The Patriot-News the questions seemed centered on the workings of the athletic department and former head football coach Joe Paterno.
They've interviewed people going as far back as Bryce Jordan, the 87-year-old Texas resident who was university president from 1983 to 1990.
And they have recovered emails once thought to be lost during technology upgrades that are said to show conversations between administrators.
Jerry Sandusky is guilty, and he's spending the rest of his days in prison. That much we know. To the extent he was enabled by the inaction of those at Penn State, there is still much we don't know. These are facts now. They are not the fevered dreams of those who wished to bring down Paterno, or who aimed at a target bigger than Sandusky because of some thinly disguised animus against Penn State. Those Penn Staters who long to put this sordid mess behind them should demand total accountability for those who looked the other way, no matter who they are. Because the trial that concluded late Friday night was less an end than it was a beginning.
Photo via AP.
Juror Says Panel Had Little Doubt on Sandusky's Guilt [New York Times]
Penn State's reputation, image soiled by Jerry Sandusky scandal [Patriot-News]