BELLEFONTE, PA - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison on child sex abuse charges.
Sandusky, facing a sentence that will likely keep him in prison for life, has steadfastly pronounced his innocence.
On Monday, the former Penn State assistant football coach said his conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse was part of a "well-orchestrated" conspiracy.
The alleged conspiracy was concocted by the "dramatic" assertions of a young accuser who was joined by the media and the criminal justice system, he maintained in a statement he issued to the Penn State student-run radio station, ComRadio.
Sandusky denied any involvement in crimes that resulted in the "worst loss of my life."
"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," the 68-year-old man said from a local jail where he has been awaiting sentencing since his conviction June 22.
Sandusky blamed his legal troubles on a young man designated by the state grand jury as "Victim 1," a former participant in Sandusky's charity for troubled youth, The Second Mile.
"A young man who is dramatic and a veteran accuser and always sought attention started everything," the former coach said. "He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the (criminal justice) system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers.
"They've won," he said. "I've wondered what they've really won. Attention, financial gain, prestige will all be temporary."
When he first spoke to authorities in 2008, Victim 1 - one of 10 boys victimized by the coach - said Sandusky abused him over a period of four years. Many of the assaults took place in Sandusky's State College, Pa., home.
Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, confirmed his client's statement.
Slade McLaughlin, the attorney for Victim 1, said Sandusky's opportunity to speak came and went at his criminal trial. "He now has the audacity to take pot shots at his victims, who did have the courage to come forth to speak the truth."
Thomas Kline, the lawyer for "Victim 5," said Sandusky's statement "is not unexpected, but unfortunate. ... I have no doubt that Mr. Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail."
At trial, eight of the victims testified against Sandusky, detailing abuse over a period of at least 15 years. Witnesses to abuse involving two other victims, including the 2001 assault of a boy in a university locker room, also testified at trial.
One of those witnesses, former Penn State football coach Michael McQueary, said he witnessed the 2001 incident and later reported it to head football coach Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley and university Vice President Gary Schultz.
Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial in January on related perjury charges, in which they are accused of lying to a state grand jury about what McQueary told them of the attack.
In his statement, Sandusky issued a wholesale denial of the crimes.
"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts," he said. "My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage. Our love continues."
By Kevin Johnson