By Ben Present
Of the Legal Staff
Jerry Sandusky, the convicted serial child sexual abuser whose trial on a host of crimes trained the national media spotlight on the center of Pennsylvania, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday to an almost certain effective life sentence.
Senior Judge John M. Cleland, who was specially assigned to preside over Sandusky’s prosecution, will hand down his sentence immediately after a hearing that will determine whether the former Penn State defensive coordinator is a “sexually violent predator.”
Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence since being arrested almost a year ago, is expected to address the court after declining to testify on his own behalf at trial. Sandusky had planned to take the stand, according to court records, but his attorneys advised him against it at the eleventh hour because prosecutors indicated they would call his adopted son, Matt Sandusky, as a rebuttal witness. While the jury was out, Matt Sandusky went public with allegations that his adopted father sexually abused him.
Sandusky faces a maximum of more than 400 years in prison and it is unclear to which state prison Cleland will send the convicted rapist. His attorney, Joseph L. Amendola, has said in media reports he believes Sandusky would be shipped to a prison for nonviolent criminals.
Tuesday will be Sandusky’s first day in court since his June 22 jury conviction on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse. Eight victims, ranging from 18 to 28 years old, testified at the trial that Sandusky abused them when they were boys. Some alleged a single incident; others said the coach forced sexual acts on them dozens of times.
The defense maintained that all Sandusky was guilty of was bad judgment. He showered with boys, but showering is not a crime, the lawyers argued. The defense built a case around what it alleged were moneygrubbing accusers who were coached by authorities and prosecutors until they had a case.
Amendola and his co-counsel, Karl E. Rominger, have indicated Sandusky would be appealing his judgment of sentence after Cleland hands it down.
Stay tuned to The Legal for further coverage of proceedings in the Sandusky case.