Sandusky and victims expected to speak at sentencing

Sandusky and victims expected to speak at sentencing

Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, June 22, 2012. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)


by Associated Press

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Jerry Sandusky's lawyer said Monday "it's as certain as certain can be" that the former Penn State assistant football coach will address the judge and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

As many as half a dozen of Jerry Sandusky's molestation victims will also be heard at Tuesday's sentencing hearing in Bellefonte, according to lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan.

Nobody else is expected to speak on Sandusky's behalf, defense attorney Joe Amendola said.

"What I anticipate he'll say is that he's innocent," he said.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He faces the likelihood of a sentence that would keep him in prison for the rest of his life.

Sandusky plans to appeal his conviction on charges he abused 10 boys over 15 years, including attacks inside Penn State athletics facilities.

The attorney said others, including Sandusky's wife, have submitted letters on his behalf and that Dottie Sandusky stands by her husband and will attend the sentencing.

"He's going to fight for a new trial," Amendola said. He said "the important thing" about sentencing for the defense "is it starts the appellate process."

Amendola made the comments Monday afternoon before a closed-door meeting with prosecutors and Judge John Cleland to discuss hearing logistics. Lawyers for the attorney general's office said they would comment to reporters after the meeting.

Sentencing is expected to begin with a hearing to determine if Sandusky qualifies as a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law, after which Sandusky will be sentenced.

Potential penalties Sandusky faces at sentencing

Sandusky's sentence will be decided by Judge John Cleland, but the state's sentencing guidelines will factor into the equation. Key elements involved, drawn largely from an analysis by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing:

   -- Sandusky was convicted of 10 sets of crimes involving 10 victims. Cleland may decide to impose sets of sentences based on each of those criminal episodes, and if so, some of the charges for each episode could be merged for sentencing purposes and not affect how many years he will get.

   -- The most serious offenses are eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a crime that involves oral or anal sex. Depending when the offenses occurred, they carry mandatory minimum sentences of five or 10 years.

   -- His other convictions are seven counts of indecent assault, 10 counts of corruption of minors, 10 counts of endangering the welfare of children, nine counts of unlawful contact with minors, and one count of attempted indecent assault.

   -- The statutory minimum sentences for those 45 counts add up to 220 years; the maximum sentences add up to 440 years, but it's highly unlikely the judge would issue anything like a 220- to 440-year term. In theory, the lowest sentence he could receive is 10 years, where one of the mandatory minimums is imposed and all other counts run concurrent with it.

   -- There are also "mitigated," "standard" and "aggravated" ranges for each count. For example, for the first count, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving Victim 1, the mitigated range is 36 months, the standard range is 48 to 66 months, and the aggravated range is 78 months, but the mandatory minimum is 10 years. If Cleland departs from the standard range for any count, he has to state his reason on the record.

   -- Cleland will determine which counts, if any, run concurrent with one another and which run consecutively.

   -- If Sandusky gets at least two years, he will serve his sentence in state prison. Otherwise, he would serve time in a county jail.