World and Nation

Little debate or doubt about Sandusky’s trial, juror notes

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Joshua Harper watched Jerry Sandusky listen to one guilty verdict after another — 45 in all — and was more certain than ever that Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach, had sexually abused those young boys.

Sandusky never flinched. No sign of regret creased his face.

“He knew it was true,” Harper, a high school chemistry teacher here, said as his 2-year-old son and his 4- and 5-year-old daughters played on the floor of their home Saturday morning. “It made me feel confident that we made the right decision.”

For two weeks, Harper, a graduate of Penn State and a juror in Sandusky’s trial, heard in disturbing detail how one of his alma mater’s most famous graduates had preyed on, seduced and molested 10 boys as he was simultaneously building a charity and a reputation as a pillar of a tight-knit community where football and family were highly valued.

On Friday, Sandusky, 68, spent the first night of what is expected to be the rest of his life behind bars. He will be sentenced within 90 days and his fate rigidly mapped out and only at the mercy of the state’s justice system.

In the meantime, Sandusky will be examined by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which will determine whether he is a violent sexual predator. He will very likely be isolated from other prisoners for his protection until Judge John Cleland reviews the reports and settles on a sentence.

Then Sandusky will be transferred to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, in south-central Pennsylvania, which holds up to 4,000 inmates, a quarter of them classified as temporary.

Harper said there was little debate and even less doubt in the jury room about Sandusky’s guilt. 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.

While Sandusky’s future appears predestined, the fates of Penn State, its football program and some of its current and past officials will be determined after a number of investigations.

There are federal investigations into a possible cover-up by Penn State and the charity Sandusky founded, the Second Mile. The university’s board of trustees has hired the former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh to look into the mistakes made in the wake of Sandusky’s crimes and to propose remedies.

The NCAA and the Big Ten Conference are investigating whether the athletic department had lost its institutional control and whether there were more violations of ethical conduct and compliance. Two fired administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, have been accused of lying to a grand jury about the sexual assault witnessed by McQueary.