Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years

Nickalas Tabbert

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison Tuesday for abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Sandusky, who was the defensive coordinator and for many years the presumed heir-apparent to legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, could have faced as long as 400 years for his convictions on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, NBC.com reported. But Judge John Cleland told Sandusky that at age 68, he would be in prison "for the rest of your life."

"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," Cleland said.

Four victims addressed the court, some of them speaking to Sandusky directly. They spoke about how Sandusky had been a mentor to them but betrayed their trust.

"You were the person in my life who was supposed to be a role model, teach honor, respect and accountability, and instead you did terrible things that screwed up my life," said one of the victims, whom NBC News isn't identifying. 

"You had the chance to plead guilty and spare us the testimony," he said. "Rather than take the accountability, you decided to try to attack us as if we had done something wrong."

For his part, Sandusky — as he did in a surprise audio statement Monday night on the Penn State student radio station — insisted that he "didn't do these alleged disgusting acts."

Saying he had been advised against speaking at length, Sandusky told Cleland that "as I began to relive everything, I remember my feelings. So many people were hurt, and my eyes filled with tears. It was a horrible time in life to witness, to listen to, be a part of."

Sandusky said he had "hope in my heart for a brighter day, not knowing when that day will come."

"Many moments I have spent looking for a purpose," he said. "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."

"I would cherish the opportunity to be a little candle for others as my life goes on, as they have been a huge light to me," he said.