Sandusky Sentenced, More Proceedings To Follow
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced. The former Penn State assistant football coach found guilty of sexually abusing children was given a minimum of 30 years in prison. But, as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, yesterday's sentencing does not end the legal battles.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Even as a judge sentenced Jerry Sandusky to spend the rest of his life locked up, the convicted child abuser maintained that he's innocent. Outside the courthouse, his attorney, Joe Amendola, said an appeal is in the works. The main argument - that Sandusky's legal team didn't have enough time to prepare before the trial.
JOE AMENDOLA: Typically, cases that go to trial involving serious charges certainly take at least a year and some cases two or three years to get to trial. And in this case, we literally had four and a half months after initially receiving discovery.
BRADY: Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing ten boys. Prosecutors say he used a charity he started for troubled kids to recruit victims. But Amendola says with more time, perhaps he could have convinced the jury Sandusky was not guilty.
AMENDOLA: Would we have been able to prove it? We don't know? Did we want the opportunity to prove it? Yes. Could it have been proven? Very possibly, but we'll never know that.
BRADY: Before and during the trial, Amendola was often available for questions from reporters. Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan pointed this out in responding to questions about the pace of the trial.
JOE MCGETTIGAN: I understand that a person in his position feels they devote a certain amount of time to the media, but he might have spent it preparing.
BRADY: McGettigan also criticized the decision to keep Sandusky off the stand at his own trial, especially considering that he agreed to an interview with Bob Costas on NBC last November.
MCGETTIGAN: He could've spoken in court as he did to reporters and on television. What he was able to do he was unwilling to do, that is to be called upon to answer questions under oath and before the jury. He displayed the same cowardice that he displayed when he preyed on children.
BRADY: As Sandusky pursues an appeal, his victims likely will be seeking justice in civil courts. Attorney Ben Andreozzi says he represents six victims and will be going after those who failed to protect them by not reporting Sandusky to the police earlier.
BEN ANDREOZZI: We need to be able to target those people who let these children down. And we need to be able to hold them accountable. The only way that we can, you know, have some form of a deterrent is to hold the hold those people accountable, to make sure this never happens again.
BRADY: Penn State is trying to settle some of those claims. At the same time, Penn State is working to repair its image. Later this month, the school will host a conference on child sexual abuse.
In downtown State College, students responded to the sentencing. Junior Chelsea May was surprised Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
CHELSEA MAY: It seems like a very minimum sentencing for what he did.
BRADY: Junior Marcie Paglione agrees. And while a sentencing hearing often is a finishing point for most cases, she's not so sure about this one.
MARCIE PAGLIONE: I think that we would like to think of it as a closure on what's happening, but I don't think it will be looked at that way, especially with it being such a big thing in the media now. I feel like it's kind of going to blow the whole situation back up with it being on all the news channels and everything.
BRADY: And there is another trial scheduled. This one for a former Penn State athletic director and a university vice president. Both face perjury and failure to report child abuse charges. The trial is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year.
Jeff Brady, NPR News, State College, Pennsylvania.
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