Jerry Sandusky Sentenced: 30-60 Years In Prison
After close to a year under arrest, a guilty conviction by a jury for sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, and an Oct. 9th sentencing to spend what is effectively the rest of his life in prison, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is still going with “I didn’t do it.”
Eight men that Sandusky sexually abused as children who participated in charity The Second Mile or played football under Sandusky’s coaching spoke out under protection of anonymity during the summer trial, testifying that Sandusky forced anal intercourse, oral sex, rape and molestation on them and changed their lives.
“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 a recorded statement on Oct. 8th. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts.”
Judge John Cleland of Pennsylvania thought otherwise, telling Sandsuky, “I’m not going to sentence you to centuries in prison, although the law will permit that.”
Charged with 48 counts of molestation, Sandusky was found guilty of only 45, a conviction some still thought too light.
“I am troubled with flashbacks of his naked body, something that will never be erased from my memory,” one man, who was 13 years old when he was abused, testified on Tuesday.
The scandal also revoked what was once one of the most spirited and successful college football programs in the United States. A $60 million fine, four-year postseason ban, loss of some scholarships that will prevent Penn State from playing as a Big Ten school, and relinquishing football wins from 1998-2011 have all but ended the institution’s football program.
“While today’s sentence cannot erase what has happened, hopefully it will provide comfort to those affected by these horrible events and help them continue down the road to recovery,” Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement.
This attempted cover-up of years of sexual abuse by a university administration may have gone unnoticed had it not been for 24-year-old reporter Sara Ganim, who first investigated and ultimately broke the story of Sandusky’s abusive past, earning a Pulitzer Prize for her work. She has been reporting on his trial for The Patriot-News, the same paper that scooped the scandal, and offering Tuesday morning updates through social media as well.
While we can cheer for Ganim’s courage, Oct. 9 remains a somber day in history for all involved. Sandusky will die in prison for his crimes at the cost of unnumbered shattered lives.
What do you think of the Sandusky trial and verdict? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by Lauren Slavin