Sandusky gets at least 30 years, denies wrongdoing


Sandusky gets at least 30 years, denies wrongdoing

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) In what sounded at times like a locker room pep talk, Jerry Sandusky rambled in his red prison suit about being the underdog in the fourth quarter, about forgiveness, about dogs and about the movie ``Seabiscuit.''

With his accusers seated behind him in the courtroom, he denied committing ``disgusting acts'' against children and instead painted himself as the victim.

And then, after he had said his piece, a judge sentenced him to 30 to 60 years in prison Tuesday, all but ensuring the 68-year-old Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the child sexual abuse scandal that brought disgrace to Penn State and triggered the downfall of his former boss, football coach Joe Paterno.

He leaves behind a trail of human and legal wreckage that could take years for the university to clear away.

``The tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal. The most obvious aspect is your betrayal of 10 children,'' Judge John Cleland said after a hearing in which three of the men Sandusky was convicted of molesting as boys confronted him face to face and told of the lasting pain he had inflicted.

The judge said he expects Sandusky to die in prison.

In a disjointed, 15-minute address before he learned his sentence, Sandusky said: ``In my heart I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.''

Sprinkling his remarks with sports references, the former assistant coach spoke of being locked up in a jail cell, subjected to outbursts from fellow inmates, reading inspirational books and trying to find a purpose in his fate. His voice cracked as he talked about missing his loved ones, including his wife, Dottie, who was in the gallery.

``Hopefully we can get better as a result of our hardship and suffering, that somehow, some way, something good will come out of this,'' Sandusky said.

He also spoke of instances in which he helped children and did good works in the community, adding: ``I've forgiven, I've been forgiven. I've comforted others, I've been comforted. I've been kissed by dogs, I've been bit by dogs. I've conformed, I've also been different. I've been me. I've been loved, I've been hated.''

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts, found guilty of raping or fondling boys he had met through the acclaimed youth charity he founded, The Second Mile. He plans to appeal, arguing among other things that his defense was not given enough time to prepare for trial after his arrest last November.

Among the victims who spoke in court Tuesday was a young man who said he was 11 when Sandusky groped him in a shower in 1998. He said Sandusky is in denial and should ``stop coming up with excuses.''

``I've been left with deep painful wounds that you caused and had been buried in the garden of my heart for many years,'' he said.

Another man said he was 13 in 2001 when Sandusky lured him into a Penn State sauna and then a shower and forced him to touch the ex-coach. ``I am troubled with flashbacks of his naked body, something that will never be erased from my memory,'' he said.

After the sentencing, prosecutor Joe McGettigan praised the victims' courage and dismissed Sandusky's comments as ``a masterpiece of banal self-delusion, completely untethered from reality and without any acceptance of responsibility.''

``It was entirely self-focused as if he, again, were the victim,'' McGettigan said.

Lawyers for the victims said they were satisfied with the sentence, but with four lawsuits brought against Penn State and several more expected, and Penn State laboring under severe NCAA penalties, cleaning up in the wake of what may be the biggest scandal in college sports history may take years.

Ben Andreozzi, an attorney for one the victims, said the university needs to do more: ``It's important they understand before we get into serious discussions about money, that there are other, noneconomic issues. We need apologies. We need changes in policy. This isn't just about money.''

Penn State fired Paterno after Sandusky's arrest, and the coach died of lung cancer three months later. The scandal also brought down university President Graham Spanier.

Two university administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, are awaiting trial in January on charges they failed to properly report suspicions about Sandusky and lied to the grand jury that investigated him.

Over the summer, an investigation commissioned by Penn State and led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno and other top officials covered up allegations against Sandusky for more than a decade to avoid bad publicity.

After the report came out, the NCAA fined Penn State a record $60 million, barred the football team from postseason play for four years, cut the number of scholarships it can award, and erased 14 years of victories for Paterno, stripping him of his standing as the winningest coach in the history of big-time college football.

In a three-minute recorded statement aired Monday night by Penn State radio, Sandusky described himself as the victim of a ``well-orchestrated effort'' by his accusers, the media, Penn State, plaintiffs' attorneys and others - a claim the judge dismissed on Tuesday as an unbelievable conspiracy theory.

``I speak today with hope in my heart for a brighter day, not knowing if that day will come,'' Sandusky said. ``Many moments have been spent looking for a purpose. Maybe it will help others, some vulnerable children who might have been abused, might not be, as a result of the publicity.''

After the sentencing, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement: ``Our thoughts today, as they have been for the last year, go out to the victims of Jerry Sandusky's abuse. While today's sentence cannot erase what has happened, hopefully it will provide comfort to those affected by these horrible events.''

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tom Wilson scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom recorded four helpers and the assistant coaches chipped in with a big assist in Montreal, where the Caps earned a 6-4 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The win was Washington’s third in a row and seventh in eight games as they close in on another Metro Division title. Caps Coach Barry Trotz, meantime, claimed victory No. 200 in Washington; his next win will equal Bruce Boudreau for second all-time in franchise history.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Tom Wilson, Capitals

Wilson’s all-around game continues to blossom…and the Caps’ big winger continues to fill up the scoresheet. At Bell Centre, he scored back-to-back goals less than four minutes apart in the first period to put the Caps in command. Wilson also missed an empty net in the closing seconds by just a few inches. The soon-to-be 24-year-old now has 13 goals—six more than his previous career high.  

2-Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom notched four assists and, as usual, he did it quietly. And they weren’t cheapies—three of the four helpers were of the primary variety. Backstrom, who has four goals and 12 assists in his last 12 games, has now notched four or more points 20 times in his career. It was also his 11th-career four assist game.

3-Leonhardt and Ohashi, Capitals

That’s right, I’m giving the third star to assistant coaches Brett ‘Stretch’ Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi. They quickly spotted that the Habs were offside on their second goal. And, after a coach’s challenge, the refs agreed. Instead of 2-0, it remained 1-0 and the Caps took full advantage of their second chance, scoring the game’s next four goals.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Growing rumors that Redskins will land Pernell McPhee

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Growing rumors that Redskins will land Pernell McPhee

Every team in the NFL would love to add to their pass rush, and the Redskins are no exception. The team withdrew its contract offer to Junior Galette, spurring rumors that they were looking elsewhere.

The Redskins recently had linebacker Pernell McPhee in for a visit, and rumors are swirling that the former Bear is close to joining the Burgundy and Gold.

Nothing has been confirmed, but if McPhee does come to Washington, it would be in the hopes that he can provide a boost to the team's pass rush. The linebacker has proven himself capable of getting to the quarterback in his seven seasons in the NFL, recording 31.0 sacks in his career, with 21.5 of those coming in the last four years. He's also forced at least one fumble in each of the past five seasons.

Playing in the DMV again would mark a homecoming of sorts for McPhee, who played in Baltimore for 4 seasons after being drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 draft before signing in Chicago as a free agent.