Sandusky was deserving of a life sentence in scandal sentencing
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Jerry Sandusky is set to be behind bars for at least 30 years, but the verdict he received yesterday is a swift slap in the face for the victims and their families.
The former Penn State coach faces 30 years without parole and a maximum of 60 years behind bars, leaving him with what is effectively a life sentence. But that “effective” life sentence doesn’t mean much when he had enough charges against him to theoretically put him in jail for 400 years. Even if it would be purely symbolic, he deserved a genuine life sentence.
In a period of 15 years, Sandusky sexually abused 10 boys, creating years of turmoil. His victims received a life sentence of a different kind: each one of them will go through many more years of what one victim described as “emotional agony.” Each one of them will have to continue living out his life inside the hell of his own head, knowing Sandusky has made it through the majority of his life without difficulty.
A few extra years tacked on wouldn’t have made a difference in practice, but sometimes things are done purely for principle, and this should have been one of them. Yes, Jerry Sandusky is 68 years old. Almost any sentence given to him could be considered a life sentence, and chances are high he won’t get through prison without being tossed around hard. How insulting to the victims, though, to just say: “Well…he’s going to die, anyway; it doesn’t really matter.”
This is a man who quite clearly spent his life enjoying it by his own definitions, and his lack of remorse for his actions has been proven over the last few months by his continuous denial. On Monday he stated, “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts,” claiming he is not the monster everyone is making him out to be.
But everyone else sees the monster. All eyes were turned in the same direction during the summer of Sandusky, a nation captivated by the fallen former big man on campus. In future years, people are going to look at Sandusky in the same way, and they’re going to look at this trial as reference. What was done right and wrong and what could have been presented stronger is going to be scrutinized, and so will the verdict. Any loopholes made will be tested, and any mistakes will be run with. It has automatically set a precedent for future crimes of an equal or greater evil.
It leaves a lifetime of pain and a legacy of disappointment. The scandal created a cloud over the families and damaged Penn State’s reputation. Who can even think of the school now without the first association being Sandusky?
It can’t be stated any clearer than with the facts: Jerry Sandusky abused and molested 10 different boys, all vulnerable and trusting. They’ve grown up with the memories replaying over and over, remembering details the public can’t begin to imagine. They live with this every day just as Sandusky will die with it, whether it happens in days or years. He will die in prison with his guilt, but a 30-to-60-year sentence doesn’t reflect such a crime. Thirty years sounds weak and hesitant, and this was not a case that deserved a weak or hesitant decision.