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Jerry Sandusky Jailed For At Least 30 Years
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is likely to spend the rest of his days in prison for sexually abusing youngsters.
Judge John Cleland told the 68-year-old he should serve between 30 and 60 years in prison and that the term had "the unmistakable impact of being for the rest of your life".
He was convicted in June of 45 counts involving 10 victims over a 15-year period, having met most of the boys through a charity which he founded in 1977 for at-risk youths.
Eight of the victims testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included grooming, fondling, and sex acts.
Eight lawyers are currently representing 20 people who have sued or are potential civil claimants.
"The crime is not only what you did to their bodies but to their psyches and their souls and the assault to the well-being of the larger community in which we all live," Judge Cleland said.
Sandusky proclaimed his innocence ahead of his sentencing and gave a long, rambling statement in the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.
"I hope in my heart for a brighter day, not knowing when that day will come," he said.
"Many moments I have spent looking for a purpose," he added. "Maybe it will help others - some vulnerable children who may have been abused may not be as a result of all the publicity - but I'm not sure about it. I would hope that it would happen."
Four of Sandusky's victims and the mother of another victim also addressed the court.
"You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model, teach honour, respect and accountability, and instead you did terrible things that screwed up my life," one of the victims said.
Another said: "I have tried to think of the words to describe how Jerry Sandusky impacted my life. There are no words adequate to express the pain and misery he has inflicted in the past, present and future."
Sandusky had insisted on Monday in a radio recording that he "did not do these alleged disgusting acts" and blamed the guilty verdicts on a systematic conspiracy among police, Penn State administrators and the media.
"They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart," he said in a three-minute statement recorded from his cell and aired on the Penn State student radio station.
The Sandusky case tarnished the reputation of one of the most celebrated college football programmes in the US and stunned a nation where college sports are revered.
It also led to the firing of longtime Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, who died from lung cancer in January. Two college administrators are facing charges of lying to the grand jury that investigated the case originally.
Sandusky's lawyer said he plans to appeal against the sentence within the next ten days.