Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Penn State University, has been placed on suicide watch, according to his attorney.

Sandusky could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison, after being found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse Friday.

The ordeal could continue, however, as shortly after the jury came to a guilty verdict Sandusky’s defence team said they plan to appeal the conviction.

Jurors announced the verdict Friday night after weighing 48 charges accusing him of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Sandusky, 68, allegedly used his position as an authority figure and child-charity philanthropist to take advantage of the boys.

The formerly well-respected defensive coach for Penn State has been an icon at the school for years, along with Hall-of-Fame coach Joe Paterno.

Sandusky showed little emotion as the verdict was read. The judge ordered him to be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months.

The panel had listened to seven days of testimony, including from eight young men who said they were his victims. Jurors also heard about two other alleged victims through other witnesses.

Sandusky didn’t take the stand.

He had repeatedly denied the allegations, and his defence suggested that his accusers had a financial motive to make up stories, years after the fact. His lawyer also painted Sandusky as the victim of overzealous police investigators who coached the alleged victims into giving accusatory statements.

But jurors believed the testimony that, in the words of lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III, Sandusky was a “predatory pedophile.”