Everyone knows Jerry Sandusky claims he’s innocent – the former defensive coordinator at Penn State proclaimed his innocence on national TV, in a newspaper interview and through his attorneys various times in the run-up to trial.
But at his sentencing hearing, Sandusky stood face to face with the judge who would decide his fate and told him, straight up, that he did not do it.
“I didn’t do these alleged disgusting acts,” said Sandusky, who never took the stand during his trial.
Sandusky was not apologetic and showed no remorse during 15 minutes when he spoke to the judge.
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At times, it was bizarre, veering off onto tangents and rambling.
He spoke of himself seeing the light but also the darkness of his cell in the county jail, where he’s spent his time waiting for today in isolation.
He ran off a list of what he sees when he looks at the cell walls: inmates who have smiled at him. Hundreds of water balloon fights with kids. Going to trailer parks to visit former Second Mile kids.
At times it seemed like a sideline pep talk.
“I told Dottie that day we’re definitely in the fourth quarter,” he said, referring to the day of his 46th anniversary. “You find out who’s committed, who will stand by you, who will go through the hurt and pain to get you where you want to go.”
At times he criticized the victims, saying he was the victim who was suffering pain and hardship.
Outside the courthouse, Prosecutor Frank Fina called Sandusky narcissistic for constantly referring to himself during the statement and making himself the victim. Victims’ attorneys derided Sandusky, too.
“Others can take my life and make me out as a monster,” Sandusky said during his address. “They can’t take away my heart, and in my my heart I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”
Sandusky said he’s received letters of support inside the jail. He read one from a former Second Mile participant.
Sandusky said he “would cherish the opportunity to be a candle for others” if his experience means abuse cases get more attention.
He choked up when he said the hardest part of being in jail was not being around those he loved. He said he missed time with his wife, children and grandchildren. His wife and four of their children attended the hearing.
Sandusky also said that his wife was his only sexual partner, and that was after they married.