30-60 years for Sandusky: a just sentence?
October 9, 2012By NewsWorks staff
Additional reporting from WITF's Mary Wilson and NBC10
On Tuesday, a judge sentenced convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky to 30-60 years. The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach was found guilty in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse for molesting 10 boys over 15 years after meeting them through a charity for at-risk children.
Common Pleas Court Judge John M.Cleland said, "I'm not going to sentence you to centuries in prison, although the law would permit that."
Karl Rominger, on the defense team, says they're pleased with the sentence and will soon file an appeal. Sandusky continues to insist on his innocence and says he remains hopeful he will be vindicated and his convictions will be overturned.
Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola said his client's right to due process was violated by the speed at which the case was pushed to trial.
"What happened to Jerry Sandusky could happen to all of us," he said. "We are all injured by the fact that one person didn't get those rights."
Asked why the case had been hurried to trial, Amendola said there were "so many different parties involved in this who wanted this to go away."
Sandusky gave a convoluted, rambling statement in court at the hearing after arriving in his red prison jump suit, visibly thinner. He read for about 15 minutes. "I've been kissed by dogs. I've been bit by dogs," he said.
He had been working on the statement while in isolation since being convicted, saying it would be the key to his vindication. It reused parts of a defiant jailhouse statement released yesterday, such as "my wife has been my only sex partner."
Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan called the statement "ridiculous" and a "masterpiece of banal self-delusion." He said it "displayed deviance, narcism and a lack of concern for pain he inflicted on others."
McGettigan said he was satisfied with the sentence because it would "cause the defendant to remain incarcerated for the rest of his natural life."
Asked about Sandusky's statement in court, Amendola said his client believed there was a conspiracy against him. Asked why such a conspiracy would exist, he said, "I would suggest there was a bigger motive ... Penn State."
No one else spoke in Sandusky's defense, though his wife and some family members have reportedly written letters in support of him.
Three of Sandusky's victims read their own statements at the sentencing. One told him, "You can choose to be in denial," but you're "only fooling yourself."
McGettigan said to reporters that he hoped the victims feel they were treated with compassion, honesty and fairness in the course of the trial.
Cleland told Sandusky at the hearing that the qualities that made him so successful concealed the very traits that led to his downfall. "It is this remarkable ability to deceive that makes these crimes so hideous," he said.
He told victims in court, "It is for your courage, not for your assault, that you will be remembered."