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Sandusky Again Sentenced to 30 to 60 Years in Prison

by on November 22, 2019 3:25 PM

BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky on Friday was once again sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison for convictions on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled earlier this year that mandatory minimums were improperly applied when the former Penn State football assistant coach and Second Mile charity founder was initially sentenced. While the new sentence imposed by specially presiding judge had a slightly different structure, the penalty amounts to the same as that issued by trial judge John Cleland in 2012.

The 75-year-old Sandusky was credited with time served for the intervening years, so has at least 23 years remaining on his sentence, which is currently being served at SCI-Laurel Highlands.

Clad in a yellow prison jumpsuit and returning to Centre County Courthouse for the first time since a 2017 hearing, Sandusky continued to maintain his innocence when Skerda offered him the opportunity to speak.

"I apologize that I am unable to admit remorse for this because it's something I didn't do," Sandusky said. 

He said he was not planning to speak but changed his mind after a recent phone call with a former Second Mile child who went on to work for the organization and ended the call by saying she loves him.

"No matter what, nobody or nothing will be able to take away what's in my heart," said Sandusky, who concluded his remarks by tearfully telling his supporters he loves them. 

His attorney Al Lindsay said he was disappointed but not surprised by the sentence. He asked for a "substantial reduction" in Sandusky's sentence but acknowledged that often requires evidence of remorse and rehabilitation, which neither he nor his client could address because they deny he committed any wrongdoing.

"If he is telling the truth, this is the worst injustice in the history of American jurisprudence," said Lindsay, who also read from several new letters by individuals attesting to Sandusky's character.

Lindsay and co-counsel Robert Buttner said after the hearing that they will continue to pursue appeals.

Sandusky was convicted of abusing 10 boys between 1995-2008, most of whom he met through the Second Mile. Penn State has paid out more than $113 million in settlements with dozens more who accused Sandusky of abusing them in university facilities or after officials had received reports about the former defensive coordinator, who retired in 2000.

None of the victims Sandusky was convicted of abusing appeared in court on Friday, but state victim advocate Jennifer Storm read letters from four of them and another from a victim's mother. She said their absence was not a request for leniency, but that none wanted to relive the trauma of appearing in court and that each asked for his sentence to be the same or greater.

Each letter described mental anguish, isolation and the lifelong effect the abuse had on the victims and their families.

"There are no words to reflect the pain and misery he has inflicted," Victim 1 wrote, adding that he has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The mother of Victim 9 said her son has twice tried to take his own life and that the abuse has devastated their family, causing "a lifetime of sorrow and suffering."

"You have destroyed my family," she wrote. "I cannot forgive you for that."

"The sentence of Jerry Sandusky will never erase what he did to me... but he must pay for the crimes which he has rightly been convicted of," Victim 5 wrote.

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Buck said "nothing has changed" since Sandusky was sentenced in 2012. She cited several incidents in prison records in which Sandusky was found to have disobeyed orders and filed grievances that were found to be unwarranted.

"There's a common theme that runs through this: blaming others and failing to accept responsibility," Buck said.

Skerda, who said the victims carry "a legacy of trauma," imposed sentences of five to 10 years, to be served consecutively, for six convictions of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Sentences for the other 39 counts are to be served concurrently with those.

“Today with Jerry Sandusky’s re-sentencing, justice was again achieved for his victims and they can close this chapter knowing that this predator will remain behind bars for the rest of his life," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. "My office is dedicated to protecting children in Pennsylvania and holding those who hurt them accountable—no matter how powerful or connected.”

Sandusky has 10 days to file an appeal to Superior Court. His attorneys also have filed a motion in federal district court seeking a new trial or for him to be released from jail, arguing his constitutional rights were violated before, during and after his trial. That was put on hold until his sentencing was resolved at the state court level.

"We're weighing our options," Buttner said. "...It's a lengthy sentence and Mr. Sandusky is up in age so we have to determine the timelines and what is the appropriate course to take. Post-conviction relief and even appeals can take three, five years... We have to take a look at what is still available to us at the state court and then maybe if not available move directly to federal court, as has already been arranged by attorney Lindsay."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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