“Others can take away my life. They can make me out as a monster. They can treat me as a monster. But they can’t take away my heart,” Sandusky said. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”
Sandusky’s words angered prosecutors, civil attorneys and victim advocates who attended the hearing. McGettigan said after the hearing that Sandusky seemed “completely untethered from reality.”
When the sentence was announced, Sandusky stared down briefly. After court recessed, he spoke with his attorney, smiling broadly and laughing. The former coach was then led away by officers.
Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s lead attorney, said he plans to file an appeal. After the hearing, Amendola counted off his complaints: The defense was forced to go to court before it could properly prepare; no one would listen to Sandusky’s side of the story; the victims were not trustworthy.
The ramifications of Sandusky’s actions are far-reaching. Days after Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011, Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier lost their jobs, along with their sterling reputations. This summer, the university removed an iconic statue of Paterno that stood outside the football stadium.
Investigators hired by Penn State concluded that some of the university’s most powerful leaders failed to protect children from abuse. The NCAA punished Penn State for Sandusky’s crimes, fining the school $60 million, vacating previous football wins and barring the team from postseason play.
Two former Penn State officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, have been charged with perjury and failure to report child abuse. Their trial is scheduled for January.
Still, Tuesday’s hearing, just a few days after Penn State’s homecoming win over Northwestern, brought some closure.
“We all have a sense of relief that Jerry Sandusky is going to die in prison, that he’s not going to be able to do this again,” said Matt Casey, a Philadelphia attorney whose firm represents several victims, including one of Sandusky’s adopted sons.