BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky professed his innocence and vowed to continue fighting his child molestation conviction in a recorded statement broadcast on the eve of his sentencing Tuesday, a possible preview of remarks he was expected to make at the hearing.
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.”
A thinner Sandusky, smiling and accompanied by sheriff’s deputies, showed up at the courthouse Tuesday wearing a red prison jumpsuit, white sneakers and holding a manila envelope.
Sandusky and at least some of his victims were planning to address the judge at the hearing.
Given the number of charges, the serious nature of his crimes and his age, the 68-year-old Sandusky faces the likelihood of a sentence that will send him to state prison for the rest of his life. Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including some attacks inside Penn State athletic facilities.
In the statement, 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.”
Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola said he did not expect any others to speak on Sandusky’s behalf, although friends and family members — including his wife, Dottie — have written letters of support. Dottie Sandusky plans to attend the hearing, he said.
Tom Kline, lawyer for a young man who said Sandusky groped him in a shower when he was 12 or 13, said his client plans to read a statement Tuesday.
“He’s going to tell the judge how this has affected him, how it’s been painful and difficult,” Kline said.
Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said as many as a half-dozen victims are expected to be heard.
The eight victims who testified against Sandusky at trial described abuse that ranged from grooming and fondling to oral and anal sex. Sandusky did not take the stand but gave interviews shortly after his arrest in which he declared he was not guilty.
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.
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.
Rominger said the sentencing and a related proceeding to determine if Sandusky qualifies as a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania’s version of Megan’s Law should take less than two hours.
Rominger said a 30-year minimum sentence — which would keep Sandusky behind bars at least until he’s nearly 100 — was probably the most the defense could hope for.
Rominger said on WHP radio that Sandusky knows the judge could impose a longer sentence if Sandusky insists he is innocent, but some offenses carry mandatory minimums that are likely to translate into an effective life sentence.
“Why worry about the niceties of pleasing the court when it won’t change your sentence?” Rominger said.
Along with Sandusky, prosecutors last year also arrested two Penn State administrators and charged them with lying to the grand jury that investigated Sandusky and failing to properly report suspected abuse. Tim Curley, the athletic director on leave, and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president for business and finance, deny the charges and await trial.
The case led to the firing of longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who died from lung cancer in January, and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier, who remains a faculty member. Eight legal teams that represent at least 20 victims or other potential civil claimants have surfaced, and Penn State has indicated its desire to settle claims out of court.
After Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Sandusky most likely would be sent to Camp Hill state prison. There, he would be tested and evaluated by Department of Corrections personnel, who will determine where he will serve his time.
AP writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa., contributed to this report.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.