After denying once more the fact that he ever committed the acts he was convicted of, Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to serve 30 to 60 years in prison — making it unlikely the 68-year-old convicted child molester will ever be free again.
Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator convicted June 22 of 45 counts of child sex abuse, could have been sentenced to centuries behind bars if all the counts against him were to be served consecutively. However, senior Judge John Cleland decided not to give the 68-year-old man such a high sentence as he said it would be too abstract to have meaning.
The most severe charges against Sandusky, specifically the various counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, were the ones that added up to the 30 to 60 year sentence and will be served consecutively. The other counts Sandusky was convicted of, he will serve concurrent to the others.
A gaunt Sandusky neither admitted nor apologized for the crimes he was convicted of Tuesday, and said he has hopes good can come out of the events surrounding him.
“I cherish the opportunity to be a little candle for others as life goes on, as they have been a candle to me,” Sandusky said. “Others can make me a monster…in my heart, I know I did not do those alleged, disgusting acts.”
Regarding his treatment of the people he was convicted of abusing, he said he has thrown thousands of kids up in the air and that he loves to see children laugh and play. Many of the people Sandusky was convicted of abusing testified at his trial that he would sometimes grab them and throw them in the air while playing in the pool.
“See a big, lovable dog licking their faces…my heart warms,” Sandusky said.
Sandusky also elaborated how his life has been altered since he was arrested in November, equating the events of the past 11 months to the fourth quarter of a football game.
“In the fourth quarter, you find who’s with you and who will go through the hurt and pain to get you where you need to go,” Sandusky said.
Sandusky then began speaking indirectly to his loved ones, saying that the most difficult part of his incarceration has been the separation from them, and that his incarceration would be unbearable without some contact with them.
At times, Sandusky spoke emotionally about the hardships of being in prison and how it has affected not only him, but his family, as well. Sandusky said that while in prison, he has experienced outbursts from other prisoners, celebrated his 46th wedding anniversary, and at one point, hit his head against a cinderblock wall, which he said took as a metaphor for his life, as he has hit many symbolic walls recently.
Sandusky also said his only sex partner has been his wife, that being after marriage.
Sandusky went on to talk about his former life, reliving an easier time.
“I’ve been blessed,” Sandusky said as he began to cry. “I’ve been to the mountain top, seen the valley of shadow of death. I’ve been in the locker room crying in joy as national champs. I’ve been in locker room crying after significant loss.”
Sandusky also spoke of how he will continue to fight for his livelihood after his sentencing, talking about how he has always had an admiration for fighters and equating himself to an underdog.
“There’s much to fight. You don’t have to look very far,” Sandusky said. “I love people who won’t quit. I love ordinary people who overcome. I love underdogs.”
Cleland said he did take into account the letters of support from Sandusky’s friends and his wife, Dottie Sandusky, as well as the good he has done in the community with The Second Mile and with his church. But Cleland said he more prominently noted the things that made Sandusky a success in the community are also the things that allowed him to cloak his “vices.”
“It is the remarkable concealability that make these crimes so heinous,” Cleland said before he sentenced Sandusky. “The tragedy of this crime is that it’s a story of betrayal.”
Before Sandusky was sentenced, a speedy hearing was held during which Sandusky was declared a sexually violent predator, meaning he would have to register with police under Megan’s Law — a law requiring all sex offenders to register with police so as to remain available to the public — for the rest of his life.
Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board’s assessment, conducted by board member Dr. Robert M. Stein, states that Sandusky meets the criteria of a sexually violent predator, and asked Cleland to deem him as such.
Sandusky did not contest the findings of the assessment, and signed the Megan’s Law form.