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Juror on Jerry Sandusky's crimes: 'He knew it was true'

June 23, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken to jail Friday night after he was convicted of molesting young boys.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken to jail… (Robb Carr/Getty Images )

As the verdict was read – guilty, guilty, guilty –Jerry Sandusky’s emotionless expression was proof for jurors that they’d made the right decision.

"The look on his face… no real emotion, just kind of accepting,” said juror Joshua Harper, a high school teacher in State College, Pa., in an interview with NBC. “You know, because he knew it was true.”

Harper on Saturday morning became the first juror to speak publicly about the experience of the five men and seven women who effectively handed the 68-year-old former Penn State coach a sentence of life in prison. The jurors convicted Sandusky on 45 counts related to the sexual abuse of 10 young boys over a 15-year period. The convictions carry a maximum sentence of 442 years in prison.

But the jury also acquitted Sandusky on three counts, and Harper said it did so because testimony related to those incidents was essentially incomplete.

One indecent-assault charge concerned an incident with Victim 6. The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky gave him a bear hug in the shower, but that at certain points, he just “blacked out” and could not remember other details.

The second acquittal was an indecent assault charge related to Victim 5, who said Sandusky had touched him in the shower.  

The third was an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge for Victim 2, the boy that graduate student and football assistant Mike McQueary said he saw and heard being attacked in a locker room shower.  The jury did not acquit Sandusky of any other counts related to Victim 2, Harper said.

“The reason we held back is because… McQueary did not see any actual penetration,” Harper told NBC. “I kept just going back in my mind: ‘Why would McQueary  lie about this?’ He was sure. He made it very apparent that he saw something that was wrong and extremely sexual.”

Jurors expressed misgivings over inconsistencies in testimony, which slowed the decision-making process, Harper said.  He said they stayed patient and worked systematically, but did not say which inconsistencies had been the sticking points. Overall, the jury deliberated 21 hours.

During the deliberation, Sandusky’s adopted son said that he, too, had been a victim. Matt Sandusky is one of six adopted children in the Sandusky family, and had been a participant in Sandusky’s charity, the Second Mile, where he found some of the young boys he abused.

Because the jury was sequestered, they did not hear of the allegations until after the verdict was read, Harper said. The 12 jurors looked at each other as they were told.

“That was just confirmation,” Harper said. “We had suspected that, but we had no evidence of it. It just solidified our decision.”

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