Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach and convicted child molester, lost his latest appeal for a new trial in a ruling released by a Pennsylvania judge Wednesday.
In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts in connection with the sexual assaults of 10 boys. The 73-year-old former Penn State defensive coordinator has been in prison since, serving a 30- to 60-year sentence. He had been petitioning for a new trial, or to have his charges overturned. Sandusky still has several appeal options remaining, through state and federal courts.
Sandusky’s appeal raised several issues with his original trial, including claims that grand jury leaks and intense pre-trial publicity deprived him of a fair trial, and that his lawyers at the time represented him ineffectively by allowing him to be interviewed days after his arrest, live on national television, by NBC’s Bob Costas without preparation. The prosecution eventually used the interview, including Sandusky’s rambling answer to the question of whether he was sexually attracted to young boys, against him in the trial.
Sandusky served as an assistant to iconic Penn State coach Joe Paterno for 30 years, retiring in 1999. He was largely credited with the stout defensive performances in the 1980s that contributed to two national championships and earned the team’s reputation at “Linebacker U.”
In 1977, Sandusky founded The Second Mile, a charity that worked with at-risk children in Pennsylvania. He accessed all of his victims through this charity, according to court testimony, and sometimes brought them to campus to work out and shower, where some victims said they were assaulted.
Sandusky’s 2011 arrest and revelations about allegations raised by another Penn State assistant in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in a campus shower led to the firing of Paterno and a series of criminal charges — including perjury and obstruction of justice — against three university administrators, including former Penn State President Graham Spanier. Earlier this year, former Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz both pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and Spanier, the only one to take his case to trial, was convicted of one count of child endangerment and acquitted of a more serious conspiracy charge. Curley and Schultz both served short jail sentences this year. Spanier is appealing the conviction.