Former Penn State Football Coach Sentenced
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being sentenced Tuesday to 30 to 60 years in prison for his role in the Penn State sex-abuse case. Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sex abuse for molesting and raping 10 boys over a 15-year period, with some of the attacks taking place inside Penn State athletic facilities.
In announcing the sentence, Judge John Cleland noted that although he could have sentenced him to hundreds of years, a 30-year minimum for the 68-year old Sandusky effectively means a life sentence.
Three victims, who were identified only by number, spoke at Tuesday’s hearing, and prosecutors read victim-impact statements from two more. Their sentiments ranged from urging Sandusky to repent and seek forgiveness (“If you seek forgiveness, Jesus will forgive you,” said Victim #6) to anger and guilt (Victim #4 said, “I will not forgive you, Jerry Sandusky. I will not forgive you, but I ask that all the other victims forgive me for not coming forward sooner.”).
Despite the conviction and sentencing, Sandusky remained defiant. In a recorded statement broadcast by a Penn State student radio station Monday, Sandusky blamed a conspiracy of “the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers” for his conviction. He continued to profess his innocence, saying, “They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.” He reiterated these comments during a 15-minute statement during the sentencing hearing.
Sandusky’s attorneys said they would appeal the conviction, arguing they were not given adequate time to prepare their case. However, they did not challenge the court classifying Sandusky as a sexually violent predator, which will be factored into his prison classification as corrections officials determine where he will be housed and into what treatment programs he may be required to participate. Sandusky will spend the next 10 days in a local jail while he is evaluated by Department of Corrections personnel before being transferred to state prison.