Sandusky sentenced to at least 30 years in child sex abuse case

Sandusky claims innocence, vows to appeal sentence

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -  

Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison -- effectively a life sentence -- in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.
 
A defiant Sandusky gave a long, rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.
 
The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach was found guilty in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as his personal hunting ground to find and groom boys to become his victims.
 
His arrest 11 months ago, and the details that came out during his trial over the summer, transformed Sandusky's public image from a college coach who had been widely admired for his work with The Second Mile charity into that of a reviled pervert who preyed on the very youngsters who sought his help.
 
Eight of the boys he was found guilty of molesting testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse. One of the prosecution's star witnesses, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room shower.
 
Sandusky has consistently maintained his innocence and plans to appeal.
 
In the three-minute monologue aired Monday night by Penn State Com Radio, the former Penn State assistant football coach said he knows in his heart that he did not do what he called "these alleged disgusting acts" and described himself as the victim of Penn State, investigators, civil attorneys, the media and others.

"They 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," he said. "In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage."

Defense attorney Karl Rominger at first said he was unaware of the recording, then called The Associated Press back early Tuesday to confirm its authenticity.

In it, Sandusky blames an accuser he does not name for his legal predicament.

"A young man who is dramatic, a veteran accuser, and always sought attention started everything," Sandusky said. "He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won. I've wondered what they really won: Attention, financial gain, prestige . will all be temporary."

He also blamed his conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse on "speculation and stories."

"We must fight unfairness, inconsistency and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are," Sandusky said. "We've not been complainers. When we couldn't have kids, we adopted. When we didn't have time to prepare for a trial, we still gave it our best. We will fight for another chance."

Mike Fliegelman, student general manager of the radio station, said the statement was recorded inside the county jail in Bellefonte, but he referred further questions to the station's faculty general manager, who did not return phone messages late Monday.

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