Published October 08, 2012
Jerry Sandusky, in a surprise move on the day before his child sexual abuse sentencing, took to the airwaves Monday to make a statement from prison pleading his innocence.
The former assistant Penn State coach, convicted of 45 counts of abuse, claims the case was based on "false allegations," and he laments that he didn't have "a fair opportunity to prepare for trial."
"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts," Sandusky said on ComRadio, a student-run station at Penn State. "A young man who was dramatic 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."
Sandusky and at least some of his victims plan to address the judge Tuesday at his sentencing, a proceeding that may last less than two hours, lawyers said after a closed-door meeting Monday to iron out logistics ahead of the hearing.
Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola said "it's as certain as certain can be" that the former Penn State assistant football coach will speak to Judge John Cleland and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
"What I anticipate he'll say is he's innocent," Amendola said outside the courthouse Monday afternoon.
Sandusky, in his audio statement Monday night, seemed to more directly criticize the victims than he has in the past, continuing to call them "accusers" and suggesting they made up the allegations for personal gain.
"Before you blame me, as others have, look at everything and everybody. ... Think about what happened. Why, and who made it happen? Evaluate the accusers and their families. Realize they didn't come out of isolation," he said. "The accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. Look at their confidants and their honesty. Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention and potential perks."
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.
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.
"The important thing for us is, it starts the appellate process," Amendola said.
One element of the appeal is expected to be a claim that the defense did not have time to appeal. Sandusky was charged in November, following a lengthy investigation.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.