© Reuters/Pat LittleFormer Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (L) leaves the Centre County Courthouse with his wife Dottie Sandusky while the jury deliberates his child sex abuse trial in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania June 22, 2012.
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania - A jury on Friday found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts in his child sex abuse trial after some 21 hours of deliberation.

Sandusky, who faces potentially hundreds of years in prison, was escorted immediately out of the courthouse in handcuffs and taken into an awaiting sheriff's cruiser.

A large crowd gathered outside the Centre County Courthouse in central Pennsylvania to learn news of the decision, and cheered loudly as the news was released.

Sandusky stood and faced the foreman as the verdict was read. Sandusky, wearing a brown sports court, tucked his hands into the pockets of his gray pants and appeared expressionless.

His wife, Dottie, sitting behind him, showed no emotion.

"They're devastated," defense attorney Joe Amendola said of Sandusky's relatives, "but they've been devastated ever since these charges came to light."

Amendola said he was examining the grounds for an appeal.

The decision came after deliberation over two days by a jury of seven women and five men. Nine of the 16 jurors and alternates had ties to Pennsylvania State University, and the final days of the trial drew large crowds to the courthouse.

The white-haired former coach faced 48 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period, sometimes at Penn State facilities.

The charges against Sandusky rocked Penn State and U.S. college football and renewed national attention on the issue of child sex abuse.

As the Sandusky shockwaves spread, sex abuse hotlines and lawyers saw an surge in calls and emails.

To defend himself against the media onslaught, Sandusky gave an interview to NBC in November that was a public relations disaster. He only haltingly denied he was sexually attracted to young boys and admitted to horseplay and showering with them.

Amendola said Sandusky was ruined by overzealous prosecutors and lies by accusers hoping for a big payday from civil lawsuits.

He did not put Sandusky on the stand and had more than a dozen people testify as character witnesses for the former coach, including his wife, who said she never noticed any inappropriate behavior in their home, where several of the accusers said they were abused in the basement.