Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 6:13AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2012 10:36PM EDT
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison after being convicted last June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Sandusky’s sentence was handed down Tuesday morning after the disgraced former football coach addressed the court. Three victims also spoke at Tuesday’s proceedings.
Judge John Cleland sentenced Sandusky to a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum of 60 years. The sentence means that the 68-year-old Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Pennsylvania law stipulates that Sandusky must serve the minimum term before he is eligible for parole.
During sentencing, Cleland said Sandusky “abused the trust of those who trusted you.”
Cleland went on: "The tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal. The most obviously aspect is your betrayal of 10 children.”
Joe Amendola, one of Sandusky’s lawyers, addressed reporters outside the courthouse Tuesday. He said they will launch an appeal on the grounds that the case was rushed to trial and therefore the defence did not have adequate time to prepare.
Amendola said four-and-a-half months was not enough time to sift through the hundreds of thousands of documents related to the case, as well as to secure the necessary experts to testify. Amendola said the defence had to cut off its own investigation as the trial date grew closer in addition to facing other hurdles, which added together means “you lose the concept of due process.”
Sandusky was charged in November 2011. In June of this year, he was convicted of abusing 10 boys over a span of 15 years. Some incidents occurred inside Penn State’s athletic facilities.
During Sandusky’s trial, victims testified that they had engaged in a number of sexually abusive acts with the former coach, including fondling, and oral and anal sex. Sandusky did not testify at the trial. However, he gave several media interviews in which he professed his innocence.
One of the three victims who addressed the court Tuesday was a young man who said that in 1998, when he was 11, Sandusky groped him in a shower.
"I've been left with deep painful wounds that you caused and had been buried in the garden of my heart for many years," he said.
Another man said that when he was 13, in 2001, Sandusky lured him to a sauna and a shower at Penn State and forced him to touch him.
"I am troubled with flashbacks of his naked body, something that will never be erased from my memory," he said. "Jerry has harmed children, of which I am one of them."
The sentence came a day after an audio recording was released in which Sandusky professed his innocence. Some of the recording’s text matched the statement Sandusky made in court Tuesday, in which he also spoke of the difficulties of prison life, including missing his family.
In the three-minute recording, which aired on the Penn State student radio station ComMedia, Sandusky blamed his convictions on a group of “well-orchestrated” actors. He also called one of his accusers “dramatic,” and suggested he had been seeking attention.
“A young man who is dramatic and a veteran accuser and always sought attention started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won. I've wondered what they really won. Attention, financial gain, prestige will all be temporary,” said Sandusky.
Sandusky also said that he won’t stop fighting the allegations.
“We will continue to fight. We didn’t lose to proven facts, evidence, accurate locations, and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me. We must fight unfairness, inconsistency, and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are,” he said.
He maintained that “I did not do these alleged, disgusting accts,” and said his only sex partner had been his wife.
Before he was sentenced, Sandusky was designated a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law. The designation will mean little to Sandusky, because it requires convicts to register with authorities following their release from prison.
The allegations against Sandusky rocked State College, Pa., and will have lasting effects on Penn State.
Last year, prosecutors arrested two Penn State administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, and charged them with lying to the grand jury that investigated the case. Schultz and Curley were also charged with failing to properly report abuse allegations against Sandusky.
They deny all charges against them and are awaiting trial.
The case also led to the firing of the school’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno died of lung cancer in January. The results of a probe led by former FBI director Louis Freeh found that Paterno and other school officials covered up allegations about Sandusky for years over concerns about bad publicity.
University President Graham Spanier was also fired, and the NCAA levied a $60 million fine and a temporary ban on bowl games for the football team. Fourteen years of Paterno victories were also wiped off the books.
A number of Sandusky’s victims are also pursuing civil claims against him, as well as lawsuits against Penn State.
With files from The Associated Press