BELLEFONTE, PA – Jerry Sandusky was sentenced today 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 rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.
Three victims spoke, often fighting back tears. One looked Sandusky in the eyes at times.
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.
A Penn State spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday that Spanier, who is listed in the university’s online directory as president emeritus, took on the project during a year-long sabbatical from his post as a tenured professor in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development.
“The project is an effort to continue to bridge the gap between our nation’s national security agencies and other entities,” said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers.
In addition to Jerry Sandusky, JoePa, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, Mike McQueary and Graham Spanier, you can add Second Mile charity CEO Jack Raykovitz to the growing cast of characters. Mr. Raykovitz resigned Sunday after 28 years at the helm. So far all the victims were boys in the Second Mile program. Second Mile has retained Philadelphia law firm Archer & Greiner as its counsel.
Mike McQueary, on paid administrative leave, is apparently consulting with the Harrisburg law firm of Strokoff and Cowden, who specialize in employment law. McQueary received death threats and is reportedly in hiding.
McQueary is being handled differently than the others because he is a witness in the case and he also may fall under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law. The law includes protection for the whistleblower against firing, demotion or punishment. McQueary’s status under this law is still being determined.