Saying that the former Penn State assistant football coach had assaulted not only 10 young boys' bodies but also their "psyches and souls," a Pennsylvania judge this morning sentenced Jerry Sandusky to between 30 and 60 years in prison for the sexual abuse of those children.
"I'm not going to sentence you to centuries in prison, although the law would permit that. It's too abstract, only a big number," Judge John Cleland said, according to Harrisburg's Patriot-News.
But, Cleland told Sandusky, "you are sentenced to spend not less than 30 and not more than 60 years in prison; that has the unmistakeable impact of saying the rest of your life." Sandusky is 68. NPR's Jeff Brady, who was in the courtroom, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that the judge "wanted to send a clear message that this was a life term for Jerry Sandusky." There is "virtually no way that Jerry Sandusky is going to get out of prison before he dies a natural death," Jeff added.
During today's sentencing hearing Sandusky, as he did in a recording released to a college website Monday night, insisted he is innocent. One of those he abused, who was identified as "Victim 1," said in a statement read in court that Sandusky is "only evil."
Sandusky's attorney signaled this morning that there may be an appeal based on the premise that his client wasn't given enough time to mount a defense.
Here's a question (not a survey of public opinion):
Update at 10:27 a.m. ET: "Not Less Than 30 Years, Not More Than 60":
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who sexually abused at least 10 boys over about a 15-year period, has been sentenced to at least 30 years in jail and not more than 60 years, CNN and other news outlets are reporting.
That news just came down from a judge in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
Since Sandusky is 68 years old, that effectively means he'll serve the rest of his life in prison.
Our original post:
Convicted on 45 out of 48 counts that he sexually abused 10 young boys, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is to be sentenced today and it's almost certain "he is going to die in prison," Temple University law professor and former sex crimes prosecutor Barbara Ashcroft tells NPR's Jeff Brady.
Sandusky, 68, is "potentially looking at 373 years in prison if the judge sentences him for all the counts he's been found guilty of," Ashcroft says.
At today's court hearing, some of Sandusky's victims will be given the opportunity to talk about how their lives were changed by the abuse.
Sandusky is going to be given the chance to speak as well. It seems we already know what he's likely to say.
Monday, in what Penn State's student-run newssite said is a recording Sandusky made from his jail cell, a voice that sounds like the one-time top aide to former head coach Joe Paterno again professes his innocence. He also tries to shift blame, saying:
"A young man who was dramatic [sic] a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won."
NPR has not been able to independently confirm that the voice is Sandusky's. But Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work last year in breaking the news about Sandusky's actions and the accusations that Paterno and other officials did not do much to investigate and may have covered up what was happening, is writing today that the recording is of Sandusky.
Our many posts about the Penn State scandal, which broke last November, are collected here.