As he has read and listened to televised accounts of the abuses the disgraced former Penn State University defensive coordinator visited on defenseless young victims, Del McFadden said he has one recurring question: How could this have gone on so long without Jerry Sandusky being detected?
That is just one of a number of questions the public is left to ask following a high-profile trial after which Sandusky was found guilty in 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over the course of 15 years. The 68-year-old convicted pedophile could spend the rest of his life in prison if his appeals are rebuffed.
"It appears that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against him but when I last heard, he was still claiming innocence," said McFadden, outreach coordinator with the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative in Northwest. "The thing that's shocked me was the period of time – 15 years. What's wild is that someone had to know something. My question is why?"
Jurors took more than 20 hours to deliberate and return with a verdict.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan's comments to jurors shortly before they began deliberations crystallized what the trial represented.
"I have 10 souls in my pocket – childhoods ravaged, memories destroyed by this man. You can't give back the pieces of their souls that he took," McGettigan said on the final day.
Linda Kelly, Pennsylvania's Attorney General, declared in remarks following the trial that justice for those 10 boys had finally been served.
"This defendant, a serial child predator who committed horrific acts upon his victims, causing lifelong and life changing consequences for all of them, has been held accountable for his crimes," Kelly said.
For Houston, Texas homemaker Sheila Price, the stories each victim revealed on the witness stand about their exploitation fueled her sorrow.
"It's just really sad, sad for him and his family and sad for the children,"said Price, 54. "It's also a sad state of affairs that it went on for so long and has now come to light. To me, he's guilty. He's a grown man and even if he wasn't doing anything, as an adult there are certain boundaries he should not have crossed. There are some boundaries adults must maintain."
D.C. educator Marva Shand McIntosh said she was pleased with the verdict but worried that Sandusky's actions have tarnished the good work non-profits do.
"The saddest part of the story for me was that he was able to reach these boys under the guise of a charitable organization," said McIntosh, who works with the District of Columbia Public Schools. "He reached out to these kids and victimized them with what they were running from. It is so sad. Essentially, he was a homosexual and a pedophile who adopted a kid and then abused him."
McIntosh was referring to the bombshell announcement by one of Sandusky's adopted children, Matt, that he was abused by his adopted father.
Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola said in a CBS News interview that Sandusky "was absolutely going to testify in his own defense right up until" ... the news broke that Matt Sandusky, 33, the family's youngest adopted son, had informed the prosecution that Sandusky had abused him as a young boy and was available to the prosecution as a final rebuttal witness. Matt Sandusky had previously defended his father when the elder Sandusky was arrested last November but he recounted his story of the alleged abuses against him to police during his father's trial.
The savagery of Sandusky's actions, the length of time he preyed on his victims, and the long-term harm he has brought into the lives of innocents makes his punishment appropriate, said McIntosh.
"I am pleased about the verdict," she said. "He represented Penn State for a long time. Just as how he represented them when he was good, he represents them now he's evil. This is a sad day for disadvantaged youth. Sandusky has compounded the disadvantages these young men had in life."
McIntosh said Sandusky betrayed their trust.
"He was a devious man. Who would think of setting up an organization to have these kids at his disposal? Other pedophiles do it more by happenstance; he did it by design. It's horrible. There's no room for any remorse. He's not even sorry he got caught. ... Why would 10 different boys from different settings lie about you? All had the same story, even the one he adopted."
Kelly made it clear at the trial's conclusion that Penn State bears responsibility for what happened.
"It's hard to overlook the fact that Penn State, the campus of Penn State, the physical campus of Penn State was the area where some of these assaults took place," she said.
During the trial, witnesses testified seeing Sandusky in the showers with young boys on campus, he was given access to the facilities by university officials because of his position and status on campus. And as the fallout of the case spread, former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno, University President Graham Spanier and two other school officials were either fired or forced to resign when it became clear that they turned a blind eye to what Sandusky was doing.
In the weeks since the verdict, more information is being revealed of the depth of complicity by university officials.
Sandusky's crimes occurred at the nexus of a juggernaut football program, money, and powerful university interests. In many ways, those who were interviewed said, the young boys never had a chance. They were sacrificed on the altar of big-time college sports.
"I'm interested in why these things are allowed to fester," said the 38-year-old McFadden. "I guess because he was a beneficial, high-powered individual and maybe they didn't want that success and winning streak to be affected."
There is, and has been, widespread outrage against Penn State for officials who engaged in a cover-up designed to protect the school's name and football legacy at the expense of vulnerable, innocent children.University officials have expressed a desire to settle any victim lawsuits and turn the page on a chapter that has sullied the institution's once pristine reputation.
"I put 70 percent of the blame on the university because they failed to address the situation," Price said. "That's unfortunate if they knew what was going on and did nothing. I know that sometimes you hear rumors and blow it off but if they got wind of this and did nothing, they're culpable."
McFadden said Sandusky's behavior isn't uncommon and he said he is diligent in instructing his nieces and other young people about ways to safeguard themselves because it could be a matter of life and death.
He recalled the time he supervised a 10-bed girl's facility in Rockville, Md.
"Fifty or 60 percent of the girls had been molested," he said. "The abuse would always come up in therapy. I was blown away by the assaults and the closeness of those who committed those crimes. It was uncles, fathers, and relatives."
"This will affect them for the rest of their lives. It will affect their relationships, marriages and just the way they see the world. I am concerned about the lives of these young people. They will be forever haunted by what happened to them."