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Sandusky Is Sentenced to a Minimum 30 Years in Prison; Lawyer Says Client Was Also a ‘Gentleman’

Posted Oct 9, 2012 9:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Jerry Sandusky was sentenced today to 30 to 60 years in prison for molesting 10 children while working as an assistant football coach at Penn State.

Barring a successful appeal, the 68-year-old Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Allentown Morning Call, the New York Times and NBC News have stories. Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts in the sex abuse case in June.

Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, and six victims attended the sentencing hearing. In advance of the hearing, Sandusky issued an audio statement maintaining his innocence. “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,” he said. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner that was after marriage. Our love continues.”

Sandusky could have received up to 400 years in prison. Judge John Cleland of Centre County, Pa., explained his sentencing decision, according to the Inquirer account. "I'm not going to sentence you to centuries behind bars, although the law would allow it," he said. "Talking to a 68-year old man about dozens and dozens of years in prison serves no practical purpose."

Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, had asked the judge to consider that there are "two sides to Mr. Sandusky. We have a gentleman, who by many accounts, has helped many people."

Sandusky was "notably thinner" than at the time of his conviction, NBC says. He choked up after the sentence and used a football analogy, the Inquirer says. "We're in the fourth quarter," Sandusky said. "In the fourth quarter you find out who will stand by you. For those still standing up for me, we will continue to fight."

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