Ex-assistant to a legendary Penn State football coach faces 40 counts of child abuse.
Jerry Sandusky, a former Pennsylvania State University football coach, has been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing young, at-risk boys for more than a decade.
The sentence, handed down by Judge John Cleland in Centre County Court on Tuesday, could put the 68-year-old retired defensive co-ordinator in prison for the rest of his life.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse for molesting 10 boys over 15 years, some in the football team’s showers on campus.
“Your crime is not only what you did to their bodies, but your assault on their psyche and their souls,” the judge told him.
“The tragedy of this story is it is a story of betrayal. Some of your victims had a genuine affection for you. It is precisely that ability to conceal those vices from yourself and everyone else that in my view makes you dangerous.”
But the judge added: “I am not going to sentence you to centuries in prison even though the law allows me to do that.”
Sandusky’s defence attorney Joseph Amendola has said any prison term longer than 20 years would be a “life sentence” for his client.
Sandusky, wearing a red prison uniform, maintained his innocence.
“I did not do these alleged disgusting acts,” he said in court. “The pain continues as I think of those who made the allegations. These are people I cared about, and still do. We will continue to fight,” he said, breaking into sobs as he talked about his family.
“I will never erase the images of his naked body on mine … He took away my childhood the day he assaulted me.“
– Testimony from victim
“I tried to bring joy, I tried to make people laugh,” he said of his work at The Second Mile charity he founded and where he was accused of recruiting his victims.
Prosecutor Joseph McGettigen read statements from some of Sandusky’s victims.
“I’ve been left with deep painful wounds that you caused [and] that have been buried in my heart for many years,” said one.
Another said: “I will never erase the images of his naked body on mine … He took away my childhood the day he assaulted me.”
Another lawyer on Sandusky’s defence team, Karl Rominger, said they would file an appeal to Sandusky’s conviction in the next 10 days.
The defence contends they did not have enough time to prepare for the high-profile case.