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Jerry Sandusky Found Guilty of Child Molestation

June 23, 2012

Fred Thiagarajah

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach, was found guilty tonight of 45 counts of child molestation.  The jury acquitted him of three counts.  The jury found that Sandusky had molested young boys over a 15-year period.  Sandusky used his status as a coach and his position with a local charity to target and abuse the boys.  The trial lasted 8 days but the jury came back with a verdict in two days.

Sandusky being led away in handcuffs after the jury found him guilty:

Sandusky getting inside police car

Sandusky will be sentenced in three months.  The exact number of years he will be sentenced to is unknown, but Sandusky will most likely die in prison.

Although his defense attorney believed that an early verdict meant a guilty verdict, that’s not always the case.  In my last sex crimes trial, in February 2012, the jury came back with a “not guilty” verdict on all counts and they only deliberated for an hour.

In this particular trial, however, the government presented a very strong case, highlighted by the testimony of 8 separate victims, who described how Sandusky had molested them in Penn State locker rooms, Sandusky’s house and hotels.

The defense knew this was an uphill battle and their theory of the case was that Sandusky was the victim of a giant conspiracy, with all the victims testifying because of financial motives.  Needless to say, that theory didn’t work.  However, it is difficult to come up with an explanation for why 8 separate victims would lie about being molested.

Although this is a Pennsylvania case, child molestation charges in California can be similar in terms of the high penalties.  Penal Code section 288 is the most common statute dealing with child molestation.  Penal Code section 288(a), a felony, prohibits lewd acts against children under the age of 14, and is punishable by three, six or eight years in state prison.  Penal Code section 288(b), a felony, prohibits the use of force to accomplish lewd acts against children under the age of 14, and is punishable by five, eight or ten years in state prison.  Penal Code section 288(c), a wobbler, prohibits lewd acts against a 14 or 15 year old, where the perpetrator is ten years older.  For a definition of a wobbler and what kind of punishment is possible, check out the description of wobblers on our website at


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