Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach convicted of sexually abusing children, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, concluding a prosecution that tarnished the school’s image and led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno.


Sandusky, 68, appeared today before Common Pleas Court Judge John Cleland wearing an orange jumpsuit and white sneakers. The hearing in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania came almost four months after he was found guilty of abusing 10 boys over a 15 year-period. He was convicted on 45 counts.

In a recorded statement played yesterday on a college radio station, the former coach denied the charges and questioned the fairness of the trial and the honesty of his accusers.

“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,” Sandusky said in the statement posted on the Penn State ComRadio News website. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”

Sandusky blamed his conviction on a “well-orchestrated effort” by the media, investigators, “the system,” Penn State, his accusers, civil attorneys and psychologists. The “attention, financial gain and prestige” they won will “all be temporary,” Sandusky said.

He said his lawyers didn’t have time to prepare for a trial.

“We will fight for another chance,” he said. “We have given many second chances and now we’ll ask for one.”

The case against Sandusky and the ensuing scandal has cast a shadow over the school, located in an area called “Happy Valley,” for almost a year. The fallout from the criminal probe led to the firings of university President Graham Spanier andPaterno, who headed Penn State’s football program for 46 years. It also resulted in the university being sanctioned and two other school officials facing related criminal charges.

The scandal was a “train wreck” that captivated the nation, Duquesne University law professor Wesley Oliver said.

“I couldn’t imagine the appetite for this case lasted as long as it did,” Oliver said. “It was uncontroverted that Sandusky raped these kids. We didn’t tune into this trial to see what would happen or to see whether he did it. We tuned in because we were drawn to the gruesomeness of it.”

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