Sandusky headed to prison|
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By Terry Whetstone Staff Writer
BELLEFONTE - Yesterday, for the first time since the Jerry Sandusky debacle started grabbing national attention, Sandusky showed some emotion as he stood before Senior Judge John Cleland and read a prepared statement prior to being sentenced.
While he may have showed some emotion, it wasn't related to the charges on which he was being sentenced; it was because he said he misses his wife, his children, his grandchildren and his dog.
Sandusky entered the courtroom in a red prison jumpsuit, appearing thinner than when he was whisked off to prison in June after being found guilty of 45 charges of child molestation.
Yesterday, Cleland told Sandusky he has the option of sentencing him to the maximum, "I'm not going to sentence you to centuries in prison," he said.
Cleland read each of the 45 counts Sandusky was guilty of and read how long he would serve for each. Prior to that he said, "I'll give you the total before I read each count so you don't have to stand there and try to figure it out."
He then read the sentence.
"I sentence you to no less than 30 years and not more than 60 years," Cleland said. "You're 68 years old, which means for the rest of your life."
While several of the victims were on hand to watch the sentencing, three spoke before the sentence was handed down; one spoke directly to Sandusky.
"You were the person in my life that was supposed to be a role model. Instead you did terrible things," Victim 4 said. "And I can't tell you how you've screwed up my life. You should be ashamed of yourself. I do not forgive you. Because of you I trust no one. I asked those who were abused after me to forgive me for not coming out sooner."
Victim 6 recently graduated from bible school. The young man took several deep breaths as he read from the prepared statement in front of him.
"I've been left with deep painful wounds that are buried in the garden of my soul," he said in a shaky, nervous sounding voice spoke. "Worst of all has been the violation I felt. You can choose to be in denial of what you've done," he said to Sandusky. "I think you are only fooling yourself. It's time to stop."
He said he has begun his walk down the road to recovery with Jesus.
"I'm troubled by flashbacks of his naked body," Victim 5 said as he sniffled and nearly cried. He said he continues to be haunted by the incidents, and suffers from anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and guilt. "Sentencing him will never make me whole ... but he must pay for his crimes."
Joseph McGettigan, lead prosecutor in the case, read two letters before the victims took the podium, the first from Victim 1, who was in the courtroom and the other was from the mother of Victim 9.
Victim 1 said he wishes his life was like it was before he met Sandusky.
Throughout the morning, Dottie Sandusky sat in the front row with several of her adopted children around her, sometimes crying, often with tears in her eyes as the victims spoke.
Victim 9's mother said she thought Sandusky was helping her son, "when in reality he was molesting him the whole time," she said through McGettigan reading her letter.
"How can you do something like this to so many people and show no remorse?" she asked in her letter. "You took his childhood and it can't be given back."
Sandusky also spoke, stating he was grateful for the opportunity to speak.
"I didn't do these disgusting acts," he said. "I'm hoping for a brighter day."
Sandusky said he told his wife he definitely knew they were in the fourth quarter and he wondered who would stand by him and support him and she has been there and stood strong.
"The ones who still believe in me are the ones who matter to me," Sandusky said.
He said while people can make him out as a monster, he said they can't take his heart, "And in my heart I know I didn't do it," he said.
He said the separation from his family is the toughest part of it all.
Karl Rominger, part of the defense team, said the Sandusky statement released the day before the sentencing was recorded earlier and was not to be released until after the sentence was handed down.
He said they will definitely be appealing within 10 days.
Joe Amendola, lead defense attorney for Sandusky, said, "Jerry has maintained his innocence all along." He said he could not remember a significant case where you could not get a continuance and he questioned the authenticity of the Michael McQueary testimony.
Amendola believes with enough time he could have gotten an acquittal.
McGettigan said Sandusky's statement was "ridiculous" and Sandusky could have spoken at his trial but he took the coward's way out and chose not to.
McGettigan said there is an ongoing investigation pertaining to more potential victims, but said he could not comment further on the investigation.
"Justice was served," McGettigan said. "He'll spend the rest of his life incarcerated."
Joseph Brown of Blanchard said he was an alumnus of Penn State University and he used to work there. He was spotted holding a sign that said "Restore the Roar, support Penn State Football."
"I feel (Gov. Tom) Corbett could have done more to stop it," he said. "As long as he's (Sandusky) away for the rest of his life, I'm OK with it."
He said he is not surprised Sandusky is maintaining his innocence. "I'm glad he got what he did," Brown said.
Marlin Lonberger of Bellefonte said he, too, is glad Sandusky received the sentence he did.
Robert Hoatson of New Jersey represents a victim from Massachusetts who is preparing to come forward within the next couple of weeks. He said the victim, now 40, was a football star in high school and was invited to Penn State to meet Sandusky and go to a camp there, and from the time he met Sandusky, his life spiraled out of control.
Hoatson was holding a sign that read, "Road-to-Recovery.org" educating and preventing sexual abuse.
Bellefonte police officer Todd Walter said things went well during the sentencing. He said there were a few traffic issues, but nothing serious.
"I can't wait until Bellefonte gets this kind of publicity for something good," he said. "I'm glad it's finally over."
Herb and Ann Lee Schlegel of Schuylkill Haven were at Bald Eagle State Park and decided to run to Bellefonte and see how the sentencing was going. They heard the results on the radio.
"I think he got what he deserved," Ann Lee said. "The judge was right not to give him 140 years."
Herb said he cannot believe Sandusky was denying he had ever done the crimes of which he was found guilty.
Ann Lee said she cannot see what anyone would ever gain from a conspiracy to bring Penn State down.
Sandusky will go to the state correctional facility at Camp Hill for final processing.