Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Former football coach Jerry Sandusky sentenced up to 60 years for sex abuse

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was handed a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years on Oct. 9 for sexually abusing youngsters. The sentence was announced in a courtroom in Bethlehem, Pa where the judge told the 68-year-old convict that he’ll be spending the remainder of his life behind bars. The former coach was facing a possible sentence of up to 400 years. Sandusky was a coach at the university up until 1999. He spent 32 years on the job and for many of those years was working with the late Joe Paterno, who was the team’s head coach.

Sandusky was found guilty by a jury back in June after he was charged with 48 incidents of sex abuse. He was found guilty on 45 of the charges after eight of his 10 victims testified against him. The victims said Sandusky forced them to commit sexual acts on and with him when they were boys. Reports said Sandusky will be placed in Camp Hill Prison in 10-day’s time.

Sandusky released an eight-minute recorded statement the night before he was sentenced in which he denied all of the sexual abuse charges. He criticized several people in the audio tape, including Penn State, the media, those who testified against him and their families, and others. The statement more or less claimed that everybody conspired against him with fabricated evidence and that he was innocent.

In the statement, he also said the trial was rushed and that he would be appealing his sentence based on that fact. He went on to say that society may call and treat him as some type of monster, but nobody can take away his heart. He claimed that he knows in his heart that he didn’t commit any of the disgusting crimes and that the only sexual partner he’s had since he was married has been his wife.

Many legal experts were shocked that Sandusky released an audio statement before being sentenced since it could have provoked the judge into giving him a longer sentence. They feel Sandusky tried to tell the world that he in fact was the victim and hadn’t done anything wrong. Sandusky was considered to be a local hero until his arrest last November due to his success as a football coach and the volunteer work he performed for troubled youths. He founded a charity called The Second Mile in 1977 and retired from coaching in 1999 to spend more time with the charity.

The prosecution alleged that Sandusky basically found his victims through the charity and preyed upon them. In addition, an independent investigation performed by a former member of the FBI, stated that university officials and Paterno knew about an incident that took place at the school in 1998 when a janitor saw Sandusky sexually abusing somebody in the locker room. However, Paterno and three Penn State leaders told a grand jury that they didn’t know anything about the alleged incident.

Sandusky was also spotted by an assistant coach sexually abusing a boy in the locker room showers in 2001, but police were never informed of the incidents as Paterno convinced school officials to keep silent. Paterno was fired last November just after the allegations were made public and he died of lung cancer two months later. The NCAA then punished Penn State’s football program by banning the team from the playoffs for four years and wiping out the team’s wins between 19988 and 2011. Scholarships and player movement were also affected.

When the NCAA revoked the team’s victories from the record book, it meant that Paterno lost his standing of being college football’s winningest coach.

Ian Palmer
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