Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky walks into the Centre County Courthouse before being sentenced in his child sex abuse case (Photo by Getty Images)
BELLEFONTE, Pa - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison Tuesday morning for his role in a child sex abuse case that rocked the University to its core.
The sentence means the 68-year-old Sandusky will be in prison at least until he's nearly 100 years old.
Judge John Cleland issued the sentence Tuesday, three months after a jury convicted Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Prosecutors say the coach molested at least 10 children over a 15-year period.
Sandusky maintains his innocence and plans to appeal, a process his lawyer has said will probably begin in the coming weeks.
Sandusky, appearing in court in a bright red jail jumpsuit, delivered a sometimes rambling four-minute statement in which he denied his crimes, saying that he would "fight" to overturn the verdicts against him.
"They can make me out as a monster, but in my heart I know I didn't do these alleged, disgusting things," Sandusky said before the judge.
Sandusky was proceeded by three of his victims, two of whom spoke through tears, about how he had "betrayed" their trust. One of them, designated by the state grand jury as "Victim 4," looked directly at Sandusky and told him: "You should be ashamed of yourself. I want you to know I will not forgive you. I don't know if I could ever forgive you."
The short hearing ended with Judge John Cleland describing Sandusky's statement as "unbelievable."
Cleland said the "ultimate tragedy of this case is that the very victims you abused had your trust, they trusted you. This crime is not only about crimes of the body, it is also about the assaults on their psyches and their souls."
Sandusky's sentence comes just more than three months after a jury rendered its guilty verdicts and nearly a year after a Pennsylvania grand jury first published a gruesome catalog of crimes directly implicating the once-revered former coach.
Within days, the fast-moving scandal prompted the ouster of longtime university President Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno, the iconic head football coach who had become the face of Penn State.
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