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Facing a potential of up to 400 years in prison on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Judge John Cleland justified his decision by saying that the minimum of 30 years behind bars was essentially a life sentence for Sandusky, now 68 years old, reports NBC News. But perhaps a symbolic sentence of the full 400 years may have been a more powerful statement against Sandusky. It also may have served as vindication for the victims he abused.
After all, the similarly-aged Bernie Madoff received the maximum of 150 years behind bars for his Ponzi scheme.
Earlier this year, Sandusky, the one-time heir apparent to Penn State's legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, was convicted of abusing 10 boys he'd met over 15 years of working with his charity to help troubled children. Sandusky's crime was perhaps most appalling because he abused the most vulnerable children who needed help the most.
In general, when a judge considers sentencing, he will consider a variety of factors like the severity of the crime committed, the number of victims, whether the defendant was a first-time offender, and the age of the defendant. In this case, Judge Cleland appeared to ignore every factor but Sandusky's age with his 30-year "life" sentence.
Despite the sentencing, this is probably not the last we've heard from Jerry Sandusky. His lawyer vowed to file an appeal within 10 days, reports NBC News.
In fact, just a day before his sentencing, Sandusky released an audio recording in which he maintained his innocence and said his conviction was part of a massive conspiracy to bring down Penn State's football program and the late Joe Paterno.
During Jerry Sandusky's sentencing, he continued his disillusionment when he addressed the court. Sandusky said he wanted to be "a little candle for others" and hoped that the publicity of his trial spared some potential victims from child sex abuse.
Prosecutors called Sandusky's speech "banal self-delusion completely untethered from reality."
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