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Sandusky jurors begin deliberating sex abuse case

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jurors in Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse case began deliberations Thursday after his lawyer and a state prosecutor made closing arguments that followed seven days of testimony.

Sandusky, 68, did not take the stand in his own defense. Eight young men testified that they were victims of the former Penn State assistant football coach, and jurors also heard about two other alleged victims through other witnesses.

If convicted, Sandusky could spend the rest of his life in state prison. He is charged with 48 counts related to 10 boys over 15 years.

Sandusky has repeatedly denied the allegations, and his defense at trial included a suggestion that his accusers have a financial motive to make up stories, years after the fact.

The eight accusers testified about a range of alleged abuse, from kissing and massages to groping, oral sex and anal rape. Penn State football assistant Mike McQueary said he witnessed Sandusky in a team shower with a young boy more than a decade ago, and is convinced Sandusky was molesting the child.

Defense witnesses, including Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, described his philanthropic work with children over the years, and many of the 28 defense witnesses spoke in positive terms about his reputation in the community.

Sandusky’s arrest in November led the Penn State trustees to fire then-head coach Joe Paterno, saying he exhibited a lack of leadership after fielding a report from McQueary about the 2001 incident. The scandal also led to the ouster of university president Graham Spanier, and criminal charges against two university administrators for failing to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury.

The two administrators, athletic director Tim Curley and now-retired vice president Gary Schultz, are fighting the allegations and await trial.