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Praise for victims, jurors after Sandusky verdict

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Sat June 23, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The mother of one victim says there are no winners
  • Many praised the victims for their testimony
  • Sandusky's lawyers say they respect the verdict, but will appeal

(CNN) -- The jurors and victims who testified in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky received much praise in light of his conviction.

The stories of the 10 victims who accused Sandusky of sexually abusing them as children generally drew ire and disgust from the public, and the guilty verdicts on 45 of 48 counts provided a sense of justice.

But the past cannot be erased and the suffering cannot be undone.

"Nobody wins. We"ve all lost," said the mother of the young man known as Victim 6.

In the courtroom after the verdict, her son was in tears as he hugged prosecutors.

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Most of the reaction from those involved with the case focused on the bravery of the young men who testified, and on the attention that the child rape trial brought to the issue of child sexual abuse.

"The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly," Penn State said in a statement. "No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing."

The statement continued, "While we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse -- both in our community and beyond."

How the case unfolded

Sandusky's attorneys admitted they fell short in the trial, but said they will appeal the verdict.

"We were trying to climb Mount Everest from the bottom of the mount. Obviously, we didn't make it," said attorney Joe Amendola, who wasn't surprised by the verdict. "The Sandusky family is very disappointed by the verdict of the jury but we respect their verdict."

"It was the expected outcome because of the overwhelming evidence against Jerry Sandusky," he said.

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Another of Sandusky's lawyers, Karl Rominger, added, "We knew whatever the jury's verdict was we would honor it. Jerry rose. I saw tears in his eyes."

Jurors did not speak to reporters immediately after the trial, but lawyers for some of the victims credited them with holding Sandusky accountable when so many others in the Penn State system failed to do so.

"This jury broke years of silence about Sandusky's systematic targeting, grooming and abuse of children and finally delivered justice.

"The verdict is a direct result of the victims' inspiring courage," said attorneys Justine Andronici and Andrew Shubin, who represented two of the victims. "The victims' provided heart-wrenching accounts of abuse, manipulation and betrayal by one of the most powerful and protected members of this community."

Because of the victims' testimony, the public now knows more about child sexual abuse and the challenges survivors face, they said.

'The Sandusky 8' describe seduction, molestation and betrayal

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly also called the victims who testified "brave men" who were able to put a stop to Sandusky.

"One of the recurring themes of the witnesses' testimony is 'who would believe a kid?' The answer is, we here in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, would believe a kid," Kelly said.

Students at Penn State who felt that the Sandusky case unfairly tainted their university hope that the verdict will provide them some reprieve.

"It's a relief. Now we can begin to heal," Penn State senior Karisa Maxwell said of the verdict. "I've never seen Jerry Sandusky. He has no affect on my education. For people to say he's Penn State is disgusting. That's not the case."

The family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired in the aftermath of the scandal, thanked the jurors for their service.

"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone," the family said in a statement.

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