Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison in the horrific child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State University and led to coach Joe Paterno’s downfall.
The sentence issued by Judge John Cleland means the 68-year-old former coach will be in prison at least until he’s nearly 100 years old.
The judge issued the sentence Tuesday, three months after a jury convicted Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Sandusky was convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period.
Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as a way to attract and prey on vulnerable boys to become his victims. Former graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room shower.
In addition to McQueary’s testimony, eight people testified he molested them as young boys, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse.
The scandal led to the rightful firing of the university’s famous football coach Paterno and university President Graham Spanier for their failure to act against Sandusky. The scandal also led to tough sanctions against the football team that included a $60 million fine, a ban on postseason play and reduction in the number of football scholarship the university can award.
A defiant and unremorseful Sandusky maintains his innocence and blamed the university, the media and prosecutors for his conviction. He plans to appeal, a process his lawyer has said will probably begin in the coming weeks.
Judge Cleland did the right thing in sentencing Sandusky to 30 to 60 years effectively a life sentence for his heinous crimes.
While there is nothing that will erase the pain and misery Sandusky caused, his victims should receive some solace in that Sandusky received a strong and just punishment for his crimes.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)