Sandusky proclaims his innocence

Jerry Sandusky

BELLEFONTE, PA. — Defiant and unrepentant, Jerry Sandusky accused his victims of lodging “false allegations” against him in a taped jailhouse statement aired by a local radio station one day before he was set to be sentenced on 45 counts of child sex abuse.

The former Penn State assistant football coach blamed a conspiracy driven by aggressive investigators, lying accusers and the media for putting him behind bars and questioned whether anything good could come from the publicity his case has received. The three-minute statement was aired late Monday by Penn State’s student-run radio station.

“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 my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”

His statements coincided with signals from his defense team Monday that it abandoned plans to plead for leniency during his sentencing hearing today and instead shifted focus to appealing Sandusky’s conviction.

“The bottom line is this,” Sandusky’s attorney Joseph Amendola said, emerging Monday from a conference with Judge John M. Cleland. “How can he be remorseful if he maintains his innocence?”

Under state sentencing guidelines, Cleland could impose a sentence of anywhere from 10 to more than 400 years for the 45 counts of child sex abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in June.

Those charges include multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of minors, the most serious of which carry 10-year minimum sentences. The judge could have Sandusky serve them concurrently rather than consecutively.

Throughout the two-week trial, eight young men testified that the man many had looked at as a mentor and father figure had molested them, many over a period of years.