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Joe Paterno's family calls Sandusky verdict an 'important milestone'

Scott Paterno, left, looks on as students greet his father Penn State football coach Joe Paterno as he arrives at his home, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in State College, Pa. Paterno's support among the Penn State board of trustees was described as "eroding" Tuesday, threatening to end the 84-year-old coach's career amid a child sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant and one-time heir apparent. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Scott Paterno, left, looks on as students greet his father Penn State football coach Joe Paterno as he arrives at his home, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in State College, Pa. Paterno's support among the Penn State board of trustees was described as "eroding" Tuesday, threatening to end the 84-year-old coach's career amid a child sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant and one-time heir apparent. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)  (AP)

Joe Paterno's family says the "healing is just beginning" but that Jerry Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts in his sex abuse trial is "an important milestone."

The family of the late Hall of Fame coach released a statement, saying their hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. They thanked the jurors and said the community "owes a measure of gratitude" to them.

Sandusky was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years. The accusations had led to the firing of Paterno, Penn State's beloved coach who died of lung cancer Jan. 22.

Penn State's Board of Trustees ousted Paterno for what was called his "failure of leadership" surrounding allegations about Sandusky.