Sandusky faces minimum 30-year Penn State abuse term
- 9 October 2012
- From the section US & Canada
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing young boys for more than a decade.
The sentence means Sandusky, 68, is likely to die in prison after being convicted of 45 molestation charges.
Victims gave statements during the hearing, and the judge said he had "betrayed" the trust of his victims.
Sandusky's November 2011 arrest triggered a crisis at the US university famed for its football programme.
He appeared at the Tuesday hearing at the Pennsylvania courthouse wearing a red prison jumpsuit and with his wrists shackled.
His lawyers said that Sandusky plans to appeal.
'Story of betrayal'
Speaking to the court in a 15-minute statement described as rambling, Sandusky reportedly protested his innocence and described the pain of being away from his family.
The previous evening, in a recording released to a Penn State campus radio station on Monday, he took a similar line.
"They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart," Sandusky said.
"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage. Our love continues."
Five victims made statements during Tuesday's hearing, three in person and two through written submissions.
One young man who said he was abused by the former coach in 1998 suggested Sandusky was still 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's mother said in a statement that she still blamed herself, and that her son had tried to take his own life twice.
"To watch my sweet little boy turn into this person is too much to bear," she was quoted in the Patriot News as saying. "Not only did you molest him, you caused him a lifetime of suffering and sorrow."
Before handing down the sentence Judge John Cleland said "the tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal. The most obviously aspect is your betrayal of 10 children."
"You abused the trust of those who trusted you," he said, calling Sandusky dangerous.
The judge said he would not sentence Sandusky to "centuries in prison, although the law will permit that".
Some of Sandusky's friends and family members had written letters in support of him to the judge, and the disgraced former coach's wife, Dottie, attended the hearing.
Defence lawyer Joe Amendola said after the hearing that he had doubts that Sandusky had received due process, saying that the defence team "ran out of time" to prepare as the cases were rushed to trial.
Penn state firings
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 out of 48 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
He molested boys he met through the Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youth. The trial heard that the boys were abused at Sandusky's home, in hotels and at Penn State athletic facilities.
Eight men aged between 18 and 28 testified during the nearly two-week trial, providing graphic details of their ordeals.
In addition, two Penn State administrators are awaiting trial for failing to report the suspected abuse and lying to a grand jury.
Penn State had boasted one of the proudest college football traditions in the US. In the aftermath of Sandusky's arrest, the institution's president and legendary football coach Joe Paterno were both fired, and many results were ruled invalid.
At least four young men have sued the university over the way it responded to complaints about Sandusky.