Jerry Sandusky receives 30- to 60-year sentence

Last Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

BELLEFONTE, Pa. Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison -- effectively a life sentence -- in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.

Judge John Cleland sentenced the 68-year-old former assistant football coach to 30 years minimum to 60 years maximum in prison. Under Pennsylvania law, Sandusky cannot be released on parole before the minimum term is up.

A defiant Sandusky gave a long, rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.

Outside the courthouse after the sentencing, prosecutor Joseph McGettigan praised the victims for their bravery in coming forward and called Sandusky's punishment a "wise and proper one." He called the former football coach's statement "a masterpiece of banal self-delusion" that was "entirely self-focused as if he again were the victim."

Sandusky was found guilty in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as his personal hunting ground to find and groom boys to become his victims.

His arrest 11 months ago, and the details that came out during his trial over the summer, transformed Sandusky's public image from a college coach who had been widely admired for his work with The Second Mile charity into that of a reviled pervert who preyed on the very youngsters who sought his help.

Eight of the boys he was found guilty of molesting testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse. One of the prosecution's star witnesses, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room shower.

Victim statements recalling the trauma from Sandusky's crimes were read at today's sentencing. One person, known as Victim 1 in the case, wrote: "I have tried to think of the words that would describe how Jerry Sandusky has impacted my life. It all began with Jerry Sandusky building my trust over a long period of time. Then came the ultimate betrayal. My psychologist describes it as PTSD -- I describe it as emotional agony. ...

"To the end Jerry Sandusky wanted to manipulate and abuse each of the victims. No remorse, only evil."

In a victim impact statement, the mother of Victim 9 wrote, "Words cannot describe the pain you have caused my son and my family. Not only did you heap lifelong problems upon my son, you did it for your own gratification. You were molesting him and forever changing his life for the worse. He lost weight, got sick a lot, was getting in trouble at school, I thought it was my fault. I blame myself, and still do, for his sick indulgences."

She told of how her son tried twice to take his own life. "You have forever injured not only my son, but your other victims as well. Shame on you, Mr. Sandusky, for your narcissistic acts. My poor son. You took something from him that can never be replaced. His childhood, his youth. You are a horrible person."

Victim 6 spoke in court, crying as he told of how he felt "manipulated" by Sandusky.

"That night you told me you were the 'tickle monster' so you could touch my 11-year-old body and get me to think that what you were doing was OK. I have been left with deep painful wounds ... words can simply not defend. There are so many times of confusion, sadness ...

"I have now begun my journey to healing. I have not by any means arrived."

He told Sandusky that the former coach and founder of the charity The Second Mile was in denial about everything he had done. "I believe you are only fooling yourself. It is time to stop coming up with excuses for your behavior. Jesus will forgive you. If you remain in denial, even though deep down you know what really happened, you will not be able to receive forgiveness. There is no other way ... There is a bigger judgment to come."

Sandusky smirked throughout the statement.

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