The trial of Jerry Sandusky — Penn State's former football coach who is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period — will begin Monday.
The scandal has polarized the Penn State community — and the country at large — as it tainted the Penn State football program and the reputation of legendary coach Joe Paterno, who died of cancer months after the scandal broke.
The trial is already heating up, as sports and justice intersect.
Jurors on Wednesday were picked for the trial, but it was pointed out that many had Penn State ties. How will the culture of a huge football program fit into this case?
The case is likely to again bring the iconic Nittany Lions into the headlines, and may further tarnish the reputations of school administrators and football legends
PolicyMic will be live blogging the event starting Thursday and heading through the weekend.
LIVE UPDATES: Monday June 11, 12 PM The Sandusky trial got underway Monday with opening arguments.
Eight young men are prepared to testify in Centre County Court about how Sandusky, 68, befriended and sexually abused them as boys over a 15-year period. The men, now aged 18 to 28, will be identified publicly for the first time in court.
Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator for Pennsylvania State University, faces 52 counts of sexual abuse against 10 boys. If convicted he could be sentenced to more than 500 years in prison.
Clad in a tan suit, Sandusky arrived at the courthouse more than a half hour before proceedings were due to begin. Asked by a reporter how he was feeling, he gave a little grin and nodded but said nothing.
Victor Vieth, executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center, said Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, would try to attack the accusers' believability but would face a tough task.
Thursday June 7, 3 PM The widow and son of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said on Thursday they were not aware they might be called as witnesses in the child sexual abuse trial of Paterno's long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky's defense lawyer Joe Amendola listed the late coach's widow Sue and son Jay as potential witnesses for the defense during the jury selection process, which concluded on Wednesday. The trial is being held in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
"Over the last few days, numerous reporters have inquired about the news that Sue Paterno and Jay Paterno have been listed as possible witnesses in the upcoming trial of Jerry Sandusky," a statement issued on their behalf by family spokesman Wick Sollers said. "The Paternos had no advance notice of this development and have no idea if they will in fact be called to testify."
Background: In early November 2011, news broke that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had allegedly sexually abused a number of young boys while working under Paterno. In one 2002 instance in particular, it was reported that Sandusky sodomized a young boy in the Penn State locker room showers, an incident that was witnessed by then-Penn State graduate assistant and current Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary. McQueary apparently delayed telling authorities about the incident, and when he finally did, he told Paterno first. Paterno then further delayed telling school administrators what had gone on, highlighting as a reason that he didn’t want to ruin anybody’s weekend plans.
A sports culture that sought on-field wins above anything else at Penn State prevented justice being served to Sandusky, Paterno, and others in a timely fashion. McQueary told Paterno, who told the school’s athletic director, who told the school’s assistant president, who told the school president — all of whom failed to contact police. For almost a decade the incident went unreported to proper authorities. When authorities did finally arrest those involved in the incident, Paterno was fired by the school’s board of trustees.
Anger swept the Penn State community, not because a number of young boys had been sexually assaulted, but because their beloved JoePa was now without a job. Penn State students rioted in Happy Valley, Pa., in response to Paterno’s firing.