(NEW YORK) — The 45 guilty verdicts made it clear: The jury believed the eight young men who testified against Jerry Sandusky.
But before the jury read the verdicts to the court, the biggest fear for the victims and their families was that Sandusky would walk away a free man.
“That was my biggest fear … that he would not be found guilty,” said Victim 1’s mother, who spoke exclusively to ABC News over the weekend.
She shared the fears and emotions of her son — an 18-year-old boy whose testimony helped send Sandusky away for possibly 400 years.
“It was very hard on him,” said Victim 1’s mother. “Even after therapy, he doesn’t feel comfortable saying what happened to him to me.”
Victim 1, who has just graduated from high school, was on his way to work when his mother called him with the news of the guilty verdicts.
“I, of course, called my son right away and told him … guilty, guilty, guilty,” she said. “He had to pull over his car. … We talked about it for a few minutes, and he was extremely happy.”
Victim 1 was the first boy to come forward and accuse Sandusky of sexual abuse, which triggered a grand jury investigation against the former Penn State football coach. Victim 1 testified that Sandusky performed oral sex on him after meeting him through Sandusky’s charity, the Second Mile.
The boy described staying in Sandusky’s basement bedroom, where a water bed and television were sequestered away from a pool table. It was there that Sandusky began abusing him, he said.
The mother and her son say they’ve been haunted since the verdict, seeing Sandusky’s picture everywhere even though his mug shot signals life in prison for him.
“I’m just disgusted. I really don’t want to look at him,” said Victim 1’s mother. “[I] didn’t want to look at him then … really don’t want to look at him now.”
She said her son was working through his anger and disgust in counseling and had become involved with a foundation called Let Go … Let Peace Come In.
Victim 1’s mother said she is relived the trial is over and that while the damage has been done, her son will move on.
“He’s a strong one,” she said. “He’s a survivor and he’ll get through it.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Clyde, KSL.com
Holly Yan and AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN