Sandusky Could Receive Up To 373 Years In Prison

Oct 9, 2012
Originally published on October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Jerry Sandusky is expected back in a Bellefonte, Pa., courtroom Tuesday for a sentencing hearing. The former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. Now young men, some of the victims will be given an opportunity to tell the court how the abuse affected their lives.

Sandusky has been in a county jail since the jury convicted him on 45 out of 48 counts, but after the hearing, he likely will be moved to a state prison.

"He is going to die in prison," predicts Barbara Ashcroft, a Temple University law professor and former sex crimes prosecutor.

Sandusky is 68 years old, so just about any sentence he receives will keep him locked up for the rest of his life.

"He's potentially looking at 373 years in prison if the judge sentences him for all the counts he's been found guilty of," Ashcroft says.

A student-run web site at Penn State released a recording Monday night. A voice that sounds like Jerry Sandusky's says what he's maintained all along — that he's innocent. NPR could not verify the authenticity of the recording.

The statement also blames one of the the victims in the case for the scandal. It goes on to fault the media, Penn State, investigators and psychologists for joining in.

At Monday's hearing, some are hoping Sandusky will speak before the judge. Chris Anderson heads MaleSurvivor, an advocacy group for male sexual abuse victims.

"We didn't get to hear him speak at the trial," says Chris Anderson, executive director of MaleSurvivor, an advocacy group for male sexual abuse victims. "I would like to hear what he has to say for himself."

Anderson also is following Penn State's reaction to the Sandusky scandal. This summer, a university-commissioned report blasted the school for a culture that allowed Sandusky to abuse children without being reported to police. That prompted the NCAA to levy harsh penalties, including a $60 million fine.

A former athletic director and vice president still face charges of perjury and failure to report child abuse. University administrators are reviewing and changing Penn State's policies, and the school has launched a campaign to repair its battered reputation.

An un-narrated video called "Faces of Penn State" shows professors, students and alumni, and their accomplishments. The school also has organized a conference later this month on child sexual abuse.

Penn State still faces lawsuits from Sandusky's victims and is trying to settle those cases out of court. Anderson, of MaleSurvivor, has some advice: "Doing right by a survivor isn't simply finding out what the right dollar figure is and signing a check and closing the door on that person," he says.

Anderson believes Penn State has done a pretty good job responding to the scandal so far. But long after Sandusky is sentenced and locked away in prison, Anderson hopes the school will make sure Sandusky's victims get the help they need for as long as they need it.

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news this morning, Jerry Sandusky is expected back in a Pennsylvania courtroom today for his sentencing hearing. The former Penn State assistant football coach was found guilty in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. He's been in county jail since then. Now, before the sentencing, a judge will determine if Sandusky should be labeled a sexually violent predator.

That designation is important only if Sandusky is ever released from prison which, as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, is highly unlikely.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Jerry Sandusky was at the center of a child sexual abuse scandal that hit Penn State last November. In June, a jury convicted him after a trial in which some of the victims, now young men, testified. Some of them likely will be back in court to see the former assistant coach sentenced.

Temple University Law Professor Barbara Ashcroft says that sentence will be a very long one.

BARBARA ASHCROFT: He's going to die in prison. He is going to die in prison.

BRADY: Ashcroft also is a former sex crimes prosecutor. Since Sandusky is 68 years old, just about any sentence he receives will keep him locked up for the rest of his life.

ASHCROFT: He's potentially looking at 373 years in prison, if the judge sentences him for all the counts he's been found guilty of.

BRADY: Last night, a student-run website at Penn State released a recording. A voice that sounds like Jerry Sandusky's says what he's maintained all along that he's innocent. NPR could not verify the authenticity of the recording. The statement also blames one of the victims in the case for the scandal. It goes on to fault the media, Penn State, investigators and psychologists for joining in.

At today's hearing, some are hoping Sandusky will speak before the judge. Chris Anderson heads MaleSurvivor, an advocacy group for male sexual abuse victims.

CHRIS ANDERSON: We didn't get to hear him speak at the trial. Obviously, and I'm aware that he's planning to make a statement at the sentencing hearing, and I would like to hear what he has to say for himself.

BRADY: Anderson also is following Penn State's reaction to the Sandusky scandal. This summer, a university-commissioned report blasted the school for a culture that allowed Sandusky to abuse children without being reported to police. A former athletic director and vice president still face charges of perjury and failure to report child abuse. The NCAA levied harsh penalties, including a $60 million fine.

Administrators are reviewing Penn State's policies hoping to prevent something like this from happening again. And the school has launched a campaign to repair its battered reputation.

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BRADY: This un-narrated video called "Faces of Penn State" shows professors and alumni and their accomplishments, including a scientist known for his work on climate change and students who help the poor. The school also has organized a conference later this month on child sexual abuse.

Penn State still faces lawsuits from Sandusky's victims and is trying to settle those cases out of court. Chris Anderson with MaleSurvivor, has this advice.

ANDERSON: Doing right by a survivor isn't simply finding out what the right dollar figure is and signing a check and closing the door on that person.

BRADY: Anderson says Penn State has done a pretty good job responding to the scandal. But long after Jerry Sandusky is sentenced and locked away in prison, Anderson hopes the school will make sure Sandusky's victims get the help they need for as long as they need it.

Jeff Brady, NPR News.

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INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.