Jerry Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison
By Jenna Johnson - Washington Post
October 9, 2012
BELLEFONTE, Pa.— Jerry Sandusky, the legendary former Penn State University assistant football coach who is now a convicted child molester, was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a series of young boys over more than a decade.
At 10:09 a.m., Sandusky stood at the front of the courtroom in a bright red jumpsuit with his back to his wife and four of his children. Judge John M. Cleland told the 68-year old that the sentence of at least 30 years, but not more than 60 years, meant he would be in prison “for the rest of your life.” Sandusky looked down for a moment, then back at the judge. The courtroom was quiet.
Jerry Sandusky arrives at central Pa. courthouse for sentencing: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrived at a central Pennsylvania courthouse for his sentencing on child sex abuse charges.
The sentencing took less than 90 minutes, but it provides yet another moment of closure for Sandusky’s victims, along with a community that has been stunned by one of the most devastating, high-profile scandals to hit higher education.
Sandusky's sentencing Tuesday follows a two-week trial in June, during which prosecutors told jurors about 10 prepubescent boys who had been sexually abused by Sandusky. Eight of those victims testified, often saying that they lacked a father figure while growing up and that Sandusky made them feel special, taking them to football games and introducing them to players for the storied program.
The abuse spanned more than a decade, according to trial testimony, and occurred in hotel rooms before football games, during trips to bowl games, in university locker-room showers and in a bedroom in Sandusky’s basement. Some of Penn State’s most powerful leaders, including former head football coach, the late Joe Paterno, have been accused of knowing about the abuse and not taking enough action to stop it.
On June 22, after two days of deliberations, the jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 of the 48 charges against him, which included several counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Sandusky’s bail was immediately revoked, and he was jailed.
Ever since his arrest nearly a year ago, Sandusky has maintained his innocence — even as Penn State wiped its campus clean of his name, even as his supporters dwindled, even as eight victims emotionally testified against him and his adopted son went public with accusations of abuse, even as the guilty verdicts were read, even as he sat in a county jail for more than three months awaiting sentencing.
“They could take away my life, they could make me out as a monster, they could 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,” Sandusky said in a statement that was given to a Penn State student radio station, ComRadio, and broadcast Monday evening. Sandusky’s lead attorney has reportedly verified the authenticity of the statement to the local media.
Sandusky provided this version of events in the statement: “A young man who was dramatic, 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.”
The idea of a conspiracy is one that Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, tried to convey to jurors during the trial. Amendola challenged the credibility of the victims, pointing out inconsistencies in their accounts, exposing problems in their pasts and questioning their motives.
The prosecution put eight of the 10 victims on the stand. The other two victims have never been identified, but jurors heard from those who witnessed or heard about the abuse.
Most of the victims are now grown men, so prosecutors showed photos of them as children. Each spoke emotionally about how Sandusky won their trust and then slowly became more physical. Some wept, others became frustrated with the questioning from the defense.
The ramifications of Sandusky’s actions are far-reaching. Investigators hired by Penn State concluded that some of the university’s most powerful leaders failed to protect children from being abused by Sandusky. The NCAA also investigated and issued a slew of unprecedented sanctions, including a $60 million fine that will be used to support victims of sexual assault.
Two Penn State officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report child abuse. Their trial is scheduled for January.
Days after Sandusky’s arrest, Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier lost their jobs, along with their sterling reputations. This summer the university removed an iconic statue of Paterno that once stood outside the football stadium.
Soon after Sandusky was convicted, Penn State released a statement saying it planned to “privately, expeditiously and fairly” address the concerns of Sandusky’s victims and compensate them.