The name "Jerry Sandusky" was that of a leader, a community activist who devoted much of his life to underprivileged and "at-risk" youth and a Penn State football coach serving under the legendary Joe Paterno -- before 2011.
Last year, after a two-year investigation by a grand jury, Jerry Sandusky was charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period.
The name of Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty Friday by a jury of his peers in Bellefonte, Pa., now will be synonymous with child predator.
After only 20 hours of deliberation by a sequestered jury, a guilty verdict on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 boys, according to news accounts. During a two-week trial, the courtroom served as the canvas for a picture of an absolute predator who played "tickle monster" in locker room showers and engaged in aggressive oral and anal sex with boys as young as 8, all of whom were drawn into a trusting relationship with a man whose Jekyll-and-Hyde existence was cloaked by his charity.
Immediately after the case went to the jury for deliberation, Matt Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky's adopted sons, dramatically converted from a defender of his accused father to a self-proclaimed victim of sexual abuse. That information was not part of the jury's decision.
A handcuffed Sandusky left the courtroom escorted by law enforcement and the clearly audible "Rot in hell!" scoff of an onlooker. He was placed in the rear of a patrol car en route to his first night as a convicted felon.
The fact that our children are over-sexualized by elements of entertainment and media in which age-inappropriate content is fed to them is only part of our problem. Too often, the new normal for many children is to see and hear images that desensitize them to behavior that is, in reality, outside the realm of acceptable and normal.
The name Jerry Sandusky joins that of too many who have robbed the innocence of young people through their evil acts. The hope is this tragedy will heighten our appreciation for the beauty of inquisitive, trusting children, steel our anger and strengthen our resolve for the swift pursuit for justice when any person chooses to prey upon our children.
While child predators may not kill our children, they take their lives away. Let the punishment fit the crime.