Sandusky Sentenced To At Least 30 Years In Prison
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. And today, he was sentenced to at least 30 years in a state correctional facility.
Sandusky found many of his victims through a charity he started for troubled children. And today, three of them confronted Sandusky in court. The once-revered assistant coach remained defiant, insisting he's innocent. NPR's Jeff Brady has our report from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Standing before the judge in a red jail outfit, Sandusky appeared older than he looked three months ago and thinner. But as the judge read the sentence, at least 30 years in prison but not more than 60 years, Sandusky had no apparent response. Reporters were not allowed to record the sentencing hearing, but Sandusky read a rambling statement that echoed this recording of him released Monday night.
JERRY SANDUSKY: They could take away my life. They could make me out as a monster. They could treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart. 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.
BRADY: In the recording, Sandusky says there was a campaign to bring him down that started with one victim, then spread. Just before sentencing, Judge John Cleland referenced that recording saying that like all conspiracy theories, Sandusky's words flowed from the undeniable to the unbelievable. Outside the courthouse, lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan had an even harsher assessment.
JOSEPH MCGETTIGAN: A banal, delusional self-referential, ludicrous statement that appeared to be, frankly, a testimonial to himself without reference to the victims.
BRADY: McGettigan thanked the victims and witnesses who testified and helped convince a jury to convict Sandusky on 45 out of 48 counts.
MCGETTIGAN: I hope that this trial and its outcome causes them to be known not as victims any more but by the character they displayed.
BRADY: Three of the boys, now men that Sandusky sexually abused, spoke in open court today. They've chosen to keep their names private for now. One, a tall, young man wearing a blue polo shirt spoke softly and stooped over his notes. He said Christianity is helping him recover, and he advised Sandusky to confess and ask for forgiveness. Clearly overcome, he almost stumbled as he walked back to his seat. Outside the courthouse, attorney Ben Andreozzi says he represents another of the victims who spoke.
BEN ANDREOZZI: The thing that I thought was particularly gripping about victim number four's statement was that he actually looked at Mr. Sandusky, and he confronted Mr. Sandusky. And you could hear and feel the anger in his voice.
BRADY: The man told Sandusky that he could have spared the victims the pain of testifying at the trial by just pleading guilty. The man says he now watches his own son closely to make sure he, too, doesn't become a victim. He said he doesn't forgive Sandusky and is not sure he ever will. The judge said he could have sentenced the convicted child abuser to many more years in prison, but he chose a shorter term, knowing it will be a life sentence.
Attorney Tom Kline represents victim number five and says the sentence of at least 30 years is fine with him.
TOM KLINE: Thirty and 68 is 98 years old. So he sent a strong message and a simple message. And I liked what I saw in terms of the way that he did it.
BRADY: Through the end of today's hearing, and even after through his attorney outside, Sandusky remained defiant, proclaiming his innocence and saying he will fight the conviction. His lawyer says an appeal is being prepared. Meanwhile, Sandusky will spend another 10 days or so in the Centre County jail before he's moved to a state prison. Jeff Brady, NPR News, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.