Ex-Penn State Assistant Coach Sandusky Gets New Sentencing

February 5, 2019 Updated: February 5, 2019

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, but a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel said that included the improper application of mandatory minimums.

In a 119-page opinion, the appeals panel struck down argument after argument that lawyers for Sandusky had made in seeking a new trial.

His defense lawyer, Al Lindsay, said he was disappointed but will ask the state’s highest court to reconsider.

Lindsay said he was unsure if the new sentencing is likely to result in a substantially different sentence.

“I suppose it depends on the judge and what happens before the sentencing and after the sentencing,” Lindsay said.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The state attorney general’s office said it was pleased that Sandusky’s convictions remained intact.

“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.

Jerry Sandusky poses for his mugshot
Jerry Sandusky poses for his mugshot after being arrested on Dec. 7, 2011. (Centre County Correctional Facility via Getty Images)

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.

Graham Spanier and Jerry Sandusky
Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, walks on the field before an NCAA college football game, in State College, Pa., on Oct. 8, 2011, and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves in custody after being found guilty of child sexual abuse charges at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., on June 22, 2012. (Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

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.

By Mark Scolforo

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