Sandusky sentenced to 30-60 years in Penn State child sex abuse case

Bellefonte, Pa.

After spending years of his life sexually abusing boys entrusted into his care, and recent years denying it, Jerry Sandusky is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail. A judge sentenced the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison.

He had faced a maximum of 400 years for dozens of charges stemming from his sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky was convicted in June.

After an emotional hearing in which victims detailed the horrors they endured -- and Sandusky still maintained his innocence, portraying himself as a victim -- Judge John Cleland ruled that the "dangerous" Sandusky will not be eligible for parole for 30 years. His maximum sentence is 60 years.

The once beloved coach, whose abuse triggered a scandal for one of the nation's most storied college football teams, was given credit for 112 days already served.

He will also have to cover costs of the prosecution, Cleland said. The amount was not immediately known.

"All the qualities that make you successful concealed your vices," Cleland said. "This, in my view, makes you dangerous."

He noted the long-term damage Sandusky inflicted on victims: "This crime is not only what you did to their bodies, but their psyche and souls."

Despite the mountain of testimony that convicted him, and a plea from a victim Tuesday that Sandusky finally admit his guilt, Sandusky remained stalwart. "I did not do these disgusting acts," he said repeatedly.

His attorneys have 10 days to appeal the judge's decision. They have already vowed to appeal his conviction. After the sentencing, defense attorney Joe Amendola insisted that if the team had had more time to prepare for the trial, Sandusky would have been acquitted.

Cleland designated Sandusky as a sexually violent offender, which will partially determine where he will be housed in prison, and which programs he will be required to participate in, according to Jean Casarez of HLN's "InSession." Sandusky told the judge he did not oppose the status, but maintained his innocence.

One of his attorneys told CNN before the hearing that Sandusky's legal team would not contest the classification, but would stipulate that they disagree with it.

Across the country, victims of sexual abuse and organizations that represent them hailed the downfall of the notorious abuser.

"Now that Sandusky will be locked up and unable to harm more children, our hope is that even more survivors will take their first steps towards recovery -- with the confidence that their family, friends and community will believe them and support them," said Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

But the most emotional words of the day came from Sandusky's victims. Some spoke at the hearing, pushing for a harsh sentence, while one, and the mother of another, offered written impact statements read by the prosecution.

"The pain is real and it will be inside me forever," said a man identified as Victim No. 5.

He added that he will never forget the image of Sandusky "forcing himself on me and forcing my hand on him."

"He took away my childhood the day he assaulted me, and he should be sentenced accordingly."

Another victim, No. 6, described the "deep wounds" that left him praying for help.

"As I put the 1998 incident in the shower into focus, I think about how you manipulated me," he said, adding that Sandusky "called yourself the tickle monster so you could touch me."