68-year old Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced this morning in a Bellefonte, Pennsylvania courtroom for his 45 convicted counts of child molestation. Judge John Cleland has given the former Penn State Nittany Lions defensive coordinator 30-60 years in prison.
Sandusky could have been sentenced to more than 400 years in prison for the volume of convictions, but the judge felt that would have been superfluous. According to Cleland, the sentence, “has the unmistakeable impact of saying the rest of your life.”
Sandusky’s attorneys have already vowed an appeal. Yesterday, Sandusky went on a Penn State radio station and pled his case, saying that he was innocent, that he was “not a monster,” and was the victim of a grand conspiracy orchestrated by the victims and administration of Penn State. Continuing his odd behavior, Sandusky made a rambling statement which included him telling the judge, “I’ve been kissed by dogs, been bit by dogs. I’ve been me.”
Sandusky will not be eligible for parole until he turns 98, making it very likely that he will not leave prison before his death. Prison life is not an easy life, and child molesters are treated the harshest of all inmates, especially by other inmates.
But is the sentence enough? In a justice system that has given out multiple life-sentences to convicted criminals, which is the very definition of superfluous, should he have gotten a sentence that potentially lets him out of prison before he turns 100?
With the ability to have sentenced for more than 400 years, it would have been a more appropriate message, at least to the victims of Sandusky, to give him more than less than 10 been percent of the maximum sentence.
This will not be the last time that we have to deal with these terrible crimes. People will argue that the punishment was not severe enough while Sandusky and his attorneys will continue to plead for his innocence through countless appeals. But for now, the victims can take some solace in knowing that he’ll be locked up for a long time, even if it may not be long enough.