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October 9, 2012

"Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years"

The title of this post is the headline from this AP report of today's high-profile child sex abuse state sentencing in Pennsylvania.  Here is how it begins:

Former Pennsylvania State University football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 years to 60 years in prison for charges of child sex abuse that involved 10 boys and spanned a decade and a half.

Legal observers said the sentence ensures that Mr. Sandusky, 68 years old, will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in a state prison. He had faced a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of more than 200 years. Experts said the chances of Mr. Sandusky successfully appealing his conviction is remote.

Mr. Sandusky, wearing a red prison jumpsuit with "Centre County" printed on the back, stood motionless in a crowded but hushed courtroom as Judge John Cleland read a list of individual sentences for 45 counts related to child sex abuse that Mr. Sandusky had been convicted of in June.

"The tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal," Judge Cleland said before handing down the sentence. "Those who have never encountered a pedophile can hardly begin to understand the anguish of those who have been so expertly deceived….The crime is not only what you did to their bodies but what you did to their psyches and souls."

Judge Cleland said to Mr. Sandusky, "When I say to you that you're sentenced to spend not less than 30 years to 60 years in prison, that has the unmistakable impact of saying clearly 'for the rest of your life.' "

Judge Cleland also addressed Mr. Sandusky's victims, several of whom were in the courtroom and had read statements about being sexually abused. "The fact that you were assaulted is no cause for embarrassment or shame," Judge Cleland said. "It is for your courage and not for your assault that you will be remembered. And it is that on which you must focus if you are going to become whole and healed."

Mr. Sandusky, who chose not to testify during his trial, read a lengthy statement in the courtroom. A weary-looking Mr. Sandusky maintained that he is innocent. "Others can take my life. They can make me out as a monster," Mr. Sandusky said. "They can't take away my heart, and in my heart I know that I didn't commit these alleged disgusting acts."

Mr. Sandusky spoke about the victims who he said had wrongfully accused him, as well as about football, prison life, his dog and missing his family. His wife Dottie looked on, holding the side of her face with one hand. At the end, his voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of being separated from his family.

Three young men read statements in court and said they were still suffering from the abuse they suffered at Mr. Sandusky's hands. "I will never erase the filthy images of his naked body against mine, but he must pay for his crimes which he has now been convicted of," said a young man identified as Victim 5, who testified that he was molested in a Penn State shower by Mr. Sandusky. "He took away my childhood the day he assaulted me. He should be sentenced accordingly."

October 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This concerns me a little. It's true that a 200 year sentence in a certain sense overkill here, since Sandusky will rightfully die in prison with 30-60. But not every offender is 68 years old when sentenced. I'm rather concerned of the precedent this case sets if, God forbid, we see a mid-20s defendant who molests/rapes 10 kids (or even 6). Anyone who commits Sandusky's acts deserves a certain death in prison--but it does't seem like a sure thing in this case.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Oct 9, 2012 1:00:07 PM

@ res - I agree. The midpoint of 30 - 60 years is 45 years, which is a year per count of sexual abuse that plays on one's position of trust, for someone who takes no responsibility, makes no apology. What type of behavior warrants the maximum?

Posted by: Paul | Oct 9, 2012 1:47:36 PM

I'm shocked -- shocked -- that we haven't heard complaints about the notorious stacking of charges here. I mean, hello, do we really need 45 counts (actually, they started out with over 50)?

This is just another rancid example of the prosecutor pinning a scalp to the wall, and pushing his own career, and playing to the press, and seeking some political chips, and, well, you know the rest -- all to nail some lonely old man with no prior criminal record who had urges he couldn't resist.

And as if that weren't bad enough, the prosecutor coached the witnesses to give congruent stories. These fascists really will stop at nothing.

Amerika, where is your compassion???!!!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 9, 2012 3:09:12 PM

Compassion? We finally give a child molester what he deserves! Who cares how many lifetimes he will have to serve, as long as he will in fact die in prison, I think the punishment is as stiff as it gets. How much more can we do to him in this country?

Posted by: Sandusky Sentenced 30-60 Years | Oct 9, 2012 3:26:32 PM

Bill--

Though your irony is not lost on me, there is certainly compassion being exercised here--they'll probably keep him in solitary. If they kept him in the general population, it would be another Fr. John Geoughan (sp?) story.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Oct 9, 2012 4:15:39 PM

Res ipsa --

I knew you would get it. Seems that the commenter before you missed out. Moral of that commenter's story: If you repeat this kind of stuff often enough, you actually get to believe it.

You're right, though. Jerry wouldn't last a week in the general population.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 9, 2012 5:47:03 PM

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