Jerry Sandusky will be sentenced later today for his conviction on 45 counts of child molestation. In advance of his sentence, he released a recording, related in this AP story :
In the three-minute monologue aired Monday night by Penn State Com Radio, the former Penn State assistant football coach said he knows in his heart that he did not do what he called “these alleged disgusting acts” and described himself as the victim of Penn State, investigators, civil attorneys, the media and others.
“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,” he said. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage.”
And they will take away his life. Given the nature of the charges upon which he was convicted, combined with his age, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. Beyond that, it’s just a message.
The more interesting question is what strategy is available to Sandusky at sentence. This three-minute monologue suggests that he’s taking the position that he’s innocent, the crimes for which he stands convicted never happened, and he will face the court and his accusers with the knowledge that he has done no wrong.
Will anyone buy this? Probably not.
Does Sandusky have an alternative? He could concede that it’s all true, that he’s a sick man in desperate need of therapy, and had he received that therapy decades ago, perhaps none of this would have happened. Of course, that won’t mean that he’ll ever walk out of prison, but it might make him less of a monster.
Assuming, as seems pretty likely, that he will appeal his conviction and assert innocence, admission of the crimes at sentence in the hope of garnering what little mercy a judge might muster will make it impossible. You can’t be guilty and innocent at the same time. Not even if you’re Jerry Sandusky.
Having pondered the options available, there doesn’t appear to be any choice but to assert innocence at sentence and take whatever the court dishes out. Not because it’s likely to help him, either at sentence or on appeal since there is little doubt as to the sufficiency of the evidence, but because there is no good alternative.
Sometimes, there is no argument, no strategy, no option, that has any potential to work. In this case, none comes to mind. Maybe someone else can see a viable option, but I can’t.
Update: Via AP, the sentence was 30 to 60 years:
Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison – effectively a life sentence – in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno’s downfall.
A defiant Sandusky gave a rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.
I’m pretty sure Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, was available for interviews after the sentencing, and plans to be ready early tomorrow morning just in case they want to have him on the Today Show or maybe Good Morning America to find out how he feels about the sentence.