Penn State's Sandusky gets 30-60 years
Reuters and AFP Thursday, October 11, 2012, 10:11 am TWN
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania -- Former Pennsylvania State University football coach Jerry Sandusky was ordered to spend at least 30 years in prison on Tuesday for sexually abusing at-risk boys for more than a decade, a sentence likely to keep him behind bars until he dies.
Defiantly maintaining his innocence, the 68-year-old retired defensive coordinator listened as several victims recounted their pain to the packed courtroom. Then, he told the court: "I did not do these alleged disgusting acts."
Sandusky stood motionless in a red prison jumpsuit, his back to the audience and his wife, Dottie, while Judge John Cleland handed down the 30- to 60-year sentence for crimes that stunned the public, a major university and the world of college sports.
He spoke about seeing visions on the dank walls of the prison where he has been incarcerated for the past 112 days since his conviction.
"I see me throwing thousands of kids in the air," Sandusky said. "And hundreds of water balloon battles."
The one-time coach, who has been in solitary confinement, will be at least 98 years old before he is eligible for parole.
Because his conviction as a child molester makes him a target, he will likely be placed in isolation or protective custody. He will hold a job that pays 19 to 52 cents an hour, probably as a clerical worker, and be allowed five visits a month. Pennsylvania does not offer conjugal prison visits.
Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, asked Cleland to take into account his client's charity work.
The sentence of 30 to 60 years "has the unmitigated impact of saying 'the rest of your life in prison,'" the judge said.
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sex abuse for molesting 10 boys over 15 years, some in the football team's showers on campus.
His victims accused him of fondling and oral and anal abuse. One recalled screaming in vain for help in the basement of Sandusky's home. Most experts said the sentence was fair.
"Your crime is not only what you did to their bodies, but your assault on their psyche and their souls," Cleland told Sandusky at the hearing in Centre County Court. "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," he said.
Addressing the court, Sandusky said: "Others can take my life. They can make me out to be a monster."
"I tried to bring joy, I tried to make people laugh," he said of his work at The Second Mile charity he founded to help at-risk youth and where he was accused of recruiting victims.
Breaking into sobs as he talked about his family, he said: "We will continue to fight. There is much to fight."
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