Sandusky gets new sentencing

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for an appeal hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.

By MARK SCOLFORO

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Seven years after Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child molestation and sentenced to decades behind bars, an appeals court has ordered a resentencing hearing for the former Penn State assistant football coach whose crimes have cost the university a fortune and triggered changes to state law. Sandusky, 75, was sentenced in 2012 to 30 to 60 years.

His defense lawyer, Al Lindsay said he was unsure if the new sentencing is likely to result in a substantially different sentence. He called the case “one of the most profound injustices in the history of American jurisprudence.”

“The Superior Court has agreed with our office that it was proper for the court below to reject Sandusky’s claims,” said Joe Grace, a spokesman for the prosecutors. “We look forward to appearing for the new sentencing proceedings and arguing to the court as to why this convicted sex offender should remain behind bars for a long time.”

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo, a veteran prosecutor not involved in the Sandusky case, said the county judge will have a lot of discretion, up to the statutory maximum, when the resentencing occurs. He was unsure how the sentence will be affected.

“It may very well result in a lesser aggregate, but not necessarily,” Chardo said. “It remains to be seen.”

Sandusky had filed an ambitious appeal that argued a range of flaws occurred in the investigation, trial and sentencing, but the three-judge appeals ruled against all of them before granting him a new sentencing hearing.

Among his claims were that his lawyers should have kept him from giving a TV interview after his arrest, that his failure to testify was cited by a prosecutor and that prosecutors should have disclosed information about changes to victims’ stories before trial.

Victims testified at his trial that Sandusky subjected them to a range of abuse, from grooming to violent sexual attacks. Sandusky has consistently maintained his innocence.

Sandusky’s arrest led the university to push out Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno and then-university president Graham Spanier.

Penn State has paid more than $100 million to settle claims from about three dozen people who alleged Sandusky had abused them, and made a host of changes to its policies and procedures. The Sandusky scandal also resulted in a change to state laws that protect abused children.

Spanier and two other retired Penn State administrators, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, were convicted last year of child endangerment for failing to notify authorities in 2001 of a complaint about Sandusky and a boy in a team shower. Spanier has an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court.

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