Jerry Sandusky's trial is over, but the saga of this horrific scandal that has rocked the Penn State community for months is far from complete.
A Centre County jury late Friday evening convicted Sandusky, 68, on 45 charges related to sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, bringing to conclusion one of the most high-profile criminal cases in recent history. Sandusky was acquitted on three other charges, but that does nothing to minimize his guilt for his actions in the eyes of the public.
Seeing Sandusky being led in handcuffs from the courthouse to head to jail after the verdicts were read provided a brief catharsis after days of heart-wretching testimony from the victims and anxious hours as the jury completed its deliberations.
Bill Bettwy cartoon
We hope the guilty verdicts bring a measure of closure for the eight brave men, who had to take the witness stand and describe the horrors they went through years ago at the hands of Sandusky. The emotional trauma they suffered as children will linger throughout their lives, but we hope the knowledge that they were - and are - believed will make the days ahead a little easier.
The same can be said for Mike McQueary, the former Penn State receivers coach, who has been subjected to intense scrutiny - and at times vilification - after a grand jury presentment revealed that he witnessed Sandusky engaged in a sex act with a boy in a university shower in 2001. McQueary has been criticized for not doing more at the time, a matter that will be debated for years.
McQueary, then a graduate assistant, did report the matter to coach Joe Paterno the next day and later told Gary Schultz, who as a Penn State vice president oversaw the university police, and athletic director Tim Curley.
Curley and Schultz await their day in court on charges they lied to a state grand jury investigating Sandusky and failed to report McQueary's accusations to child welfare authorities as required. What happens to them, as well as perhaps others, who might have had knowledge of Sandusky's pederasty remains to be determined.
Sadly, the same is true in determining the number of boys actually molested. The convictions based on the testimony of the eight now men who testified in the just completed trial might provide others with the courage to step forward.
The revelation after the jury started deliberations that Matt Sandusky, one of Jerry and Dottie Sandusky's adopted children, said he was molested as a boy by Jerry shocked many people and kept Jerry from testifying in his own defense. Matt was prepared to take the stand as a prosecution rebuttal witness if Jerry testified, a move that even Jerry's lead attorney said would have been devastating to the defense. Matt previously had denied being abused.
We expect much more will come out between now and when Jerry Sandusky is sentenced, probably in September. Then will come the appeals and possible more prosecutions.
While defense attorney Joe Amendola said given Sandusky's age, the sentence he faces will mean life in prison, prosecutors might file more charges in case an appeal somehow voids Friday's guilty verdicts. More convictions could ensure Sandusky never walks free.
Also to be determined are the civil lawsuits that will spawn from these horrific crimes. Penn State University said it wants to negotiate settlements with the victims. Let's hope the university and others can reach fair agreements with those who have been harmed with minimal litigation.
With Sandusky behind bars at the Centre County Correctional Facility following his conviction on 45 counts, the first step in healing from this horrific scandal can begin.
But regrettably, it will be years before we hear the last of his sordid story.