The effects of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal continue to be felt throughout Pennsylvania. In light of the overwhelming number of victims who came forward, it came as little surprise that Sandusky was convicted and given a harsh sentence. A jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse involving at least 10 boys over a 15-year period.
It probably also comes as no surprise that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unflinchingly rejected Sandusky’s recent request to appeal his 2012 conviction. The Court’s ruling was contained in a single sentence: “The petition for allowance of appeal is denied.”
The fact that Jerry Sandusky would seek appeal in the first place is upsetting to many, including victims and their families. The appeal attempt suggests that the 69-year-old has little or no remorse for what he has done.
Moreover, the appeal seems like a desperate move considering the strength of the criminal case against him. Even if prosecutors did not handle every aspect of the case perfectly, there were no errors or other problems egregious enough to warrant a new trial.
Although predictable, the Court’s decision to deny Sandusky’s appeal was both important and symbolic. Sandusky was able to abuse his victims for so long, in large part, because of his position as a game-winning assistant coach in a school where football is king. Colleagues and university officials turned a blind eye even when faced with disturbing evidence.
In denying his appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sent the message that Mr. Sandusky no longer commands this power. He can no longer act with impunity, and he will be held accountable for the heinous acts he has committed.
Source: Reuters, “Pennsylvania top court denies coach Sandusky’s child sex-abuse appeal bid,” Dave Warner, April 2, 2014