After a relatively quick sentencing hearing, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for crimes relating to child sexual abuse. It is expected the 68-year-old will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Although Sandusky did not testify at his trial, he had quite a bit to say during the hearing. While his victims sat behind him, Sandusky rambled for 15 minutes about underdogs, forgiveness, Seabiscuit, and other sports references, but one thing the disjointed speech lacked was remorse. In fact, Sandusky continued to claim his innocence and told the court, “In my heart I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”
Several of the victims offered their own remarks, including a young man who was only 11-years-old when Sandusky groped him in a shower. He claimed Sandusky is in denial and should “stop coming up with excuses.”
“I’ve been left with deep painful wounds that you caused and had been buried in the garden of my heart for many years,” he said.
Another victim, who was 13 at the time of his abuse, said, “I am troubled with flashbacks of his naked body, something that will never be erased from my memory.
Finally, Judge John Cleland stated his own piece and told Sandusky, “The tragedy of this crime is that it’s a story of betrayal. The most obvious aspect is your betrayal of 10 children.”
In addition to Sandusky’s conviction, the incident caused and continues to cause other fallout for Penn State University, including the firing of head coach Joe Paterno (who later died of cancer) and the upcoming trials of two university administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, who are charged with coverup and lying to the Grand Jury.
Furthermore, last summer the NCAA doled out its own punishments against Penn State’s football team by fining them $60 million, barring the team from postseason play for four years, reducing the number of scholarships the University can award, and erasing 14 years worth of victories (which also stripped Paterno of his title as winningest coach in college football history).
Needless to say, with the trials of Shultz and Curley scheduled for January, three of the victims planning to sue the University, and Sandusky planning his own appeal, this tragic story will likely result in headlines for months and continue to bring shame to the Penn State community.