WASHINGTON, October 9 (Maria Young for RIA Novosti)
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years behind bars.
The prison term of 30-60 years amounts to a life sentence for the 68-year-old Sandusky. He was found guilty of molesting ten boys over a 15 year period, sometimes bringing them to the Penn State football locker room for private showers after working out. There and elsewhere, he performed sexual acts on pre-teen and young teenage boys.
In a rambling, emotional statement to the packed courtroom, Sandusky insisted he was innocent, saying, “I did not do these disgusting acts.”
In an audio statement released by Sandusky Monday night, he blamed a widespread conspiracy among university administrators, police and the media for his conviction.
Several of Sandusky’s victims also addressed the court Tuesday before the sentence was handed down.
“The sentence will never erase what he did to me, will never make me whole,” one of them said.
Another addressed him directly, saying, “"You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model, teach honor, respect and accountability, and instead you did terrible things that screwed up my life."
Sandusky – once considered the heir-apparent to legendary Penn State football coach, the late Joe Paterno – could have been sentenced to as many as 400 years in prison for abusing the troubled boys who were brought to him for help through the Second Mile Charity he founded.
Judge John Cleland told Sandusky, "I'm not going to sentence you to centuries. It makes no sense for a 68-year-old man. This sentence will put you in prison for the rest of your life."
"The crime is not only what you did to their bodies but to their psyches and their souls and the assault to the well-being of the larger community in which we all live,” he added.
The case came to light last November when Sandusky was arrested, a move that sent shockwaves through the Penn State community and across the nation, eventually leading to the firing of Paterno and the resignations of University President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz.
The Penn State football program was crippled by the case, fined $60 million by the NCAA and stripped of all victories dating back to 1998.
Sandusky’s lead attorney, Joe Amendola, told reporters outside court that he would file an appeal.
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