Sandusky gets 30 to 60 years for child sex abuse; “I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts”

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. — from – Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison Tuesday for abusing 10 boys he met over 15 years through his charity for troubled children.

Sandusky, who was defensive coordinator and for many years the presumed heir-apparent to legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, could have faced as long as 400 years for his convictions on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. But at age 68, he is unlikely ever to leave prison, assuming he loses any appeals.

Four of Sandusky’s victims and the mother of a fifth addressed the court, some of them speaking to Sandusky directly. They told of how they had looked up at Sandusky as a mentor, only to have him betray their trust.

“You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model, teach honor, respect and accountability, and instead you did terrible things that screwed up my life,” said one of the victims, whom NBC News isn’t identifying.

“You had the chance to plead guilty and spare us the testimony,” he said.

“Rather than take the accountability, you decided to try to attack us as if we had done something wrong.”

Another said: “I have tried to think of the words to describe how Jerry Sandusky has impacted my life. There are no words adequate to express the pain and misery he has inflected in the past, present and future.

“He promised to be my friend and mentor. Then came the ultimate betrayal and deeds. He humiliated me beyond description.”

For his part, Sandusky — as he did in a surprise audio statement Monday night on the Penn State student radio station — insisted that “I didn’t do these alleged disgusting acts.”

Saying he had been advised against speaking at length, Sandusky told Cleland that “as I began to relive everything, I remember my feelings. So many people were hurt, and my eyes filled with tears. It was a horrible time in life to witness, to listen to, be a part of.”

Sandusky said he had “hope in my heart for a brighter day, not knowing when that day will come.”

“Many moments I have spent looking for a purpose,” he said. “Maybe it will help others — some vulnerable children who may have been abused may not be as a result of all the publicity — but I’m not sure about it. I would hope that it would happen.

“I would cherish the opportunity to be a little candle for others as my life goes on as they have been a huge light to me,” he said.

Wearing a red prison jumpsuit and appearing notably thinner than before he was convicted in June, Sandusky was transported to Centre County Court from jail in a sheriff’s patrol car shortly before the hearing. His wife, Dottie, was in attendance.

Sandusky’s statement echoed many of the ideas — some of them word for word — that he broached in his surprise statement Monday night, in which he blamed a widespread conspiracy among police, university administrators and the media for his conviction.

It was the first time the public had heard Sandusky, who didn’t testify at his trial, speak extensively since his conviction in June.

“They could treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart,” Sandusky said in the three-minute statement. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”

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