San­dusky re­sen­tenced to 30 to 60 years

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Scol­foro

The for­mer Penn State as­sis­tant foot­ball coach will not get a re­duced sen­tence for sex­ual abuse charges.

BELLEFONTE, PA. >> A judge dashed the hopes of for­mer Penn State as­sis­tant foot­ball coach Jerry San­dusky for a shorter pri­son term Fri­day, re­sen­tenc­ing him to the same 30-to-60year term im­posed against him in 2012 for sex­u­ally abus­ing chil­dren.

Judge Mau­reen Sk­erda gave San­dusky what pros­e­cu­tors and his own at­tor­ney de­scribed as ef­fec­tively a life term dur­ing a hear­ing or­dered this year by an ap­peals court.

San­dusky, 75, in a mus­tard yel­low pri­son jump­suit, again as­serted his in­no­cence and choked up twice dur­ing brief re­marks in open court be­fore the sen­tence was handed down.

“I apol­o­gize that I’m un­able to ad­mit re­morse for this be­cause it’s some­thing that I didn’t do,” San­dusky told Sk­erda.

He told the judge about a re­cent phone call with an un­named woman who for­merly worked for The Sec­ond Mile, a char­ity he founded for at-risk youth that he used to find and groom child vic­tims.

San­dusky said the woman ended the phone call by telling him she loves him.

“No mat­ter what, no­body or noth­ing will ever be able to take away what’s in my heart. And that was just one. There are many, many, many more,” he said, peo­ple he “had ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to be­tray and didn’t.”

He ended with a mes­sage to peo­ple who sup­port him. About a dozen were in the court­room, in­clud­ing his wife, Dot­tie.

“To those sup­port­ers out there, I just want to say I love you,” he said, sob­bing as he sat down.

Pros­e­cu­tor Jen­nifer Buck, of the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice, de­scribed prob­lems San­dusky has had in state pri­son, in­clud­ing dis­putes about re­turn­ing his meal tray, re­sis­tance to be­ing moved from his cell and com­plaints about phone calls, ac­cess to shav­ing equip­ment, and not be­ing able to ac­cess tablet.

“It’s fail­ure to take re­spon­si­bil­ity, claim­ing that he is the vic­tim, which is a theme through­out this case, and that it’s his rights that are be­ing vi­o­lated,” Buck told the judge.

San­dusky at­tor­ney Al Lind­say noted he had re­cently re­ceived sev­eral let­ters that at­tested to San­dusky’s char­ac­ter and to good deeds he has per­formed. Lind­say also noted that San­dusky spent more than five years in soli­tary con­fine­ment be­cause pri­son ad­min­is­tra­tors were con­cerned for his safety.

If San­dusky’s as­ser­tions of in­no­cence are the truth, he said, it would be “the worst in­jus­tice in the his­tory of Amer­i­can ju­rispru­dence.”

Buck ar­gued that ju­rors be­lieved the eight young men who tes­ti­fied against San­dusky, vic­tims she said were sex­u­ally as­saulted “by some­one that they loved, some­one that they trusted, some­one that be­trayed them.”

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Josh Shapiro said in a writ­ten state­ment that “jus­tice was again achieved for his vic­tims and they can close this chap­ter know­ing that this preda­tor will re­main be­hind bars for the rest of his life.”

A state ap­peals court this year turned down most of San­dusky’s ar­gu­ments seek­ing a new trial but said laws man­dat­ing sen­tence min­i­mums in place at the time of his Oc­to­ber 2012 sen­tenc­ing had since changed.

Cur­rent state law does not in­clude manda­tory min­i­mums that would ap­ply in this case, ac­cord­ing to Jack­lin Rhoads, a spokes­woman for Shapiro, but if there were, a jury would have a role to play if pros­e­cu­tors were seek­ing them.

San­dusky was con­victed of 45 counts of child sex­ual abuse in 2012. Sk­erda ticked off count af­ter count, in­clud­ing in­vol­un­tary de­vi­ate sex­ual in­ter­course, in­de­cent as­sault and un­law­ful con­tact with mi­nors.

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