The grand jury statement indicting Jerry Sandusky of 52 counts of child sexual abuse was so stomach-turning that many people found some closure in the fact that the former assistant coach of the powerhouse Penn State football team was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October, after a trial that lasted two weeks.
But the scandal involving Sandusky, 68, second in command to the legendary coach Joe Paterno, remains troubling. It not only turned the university upside down but led to the dismissal in disgrace of Paterno (Sandusky had been one of the coach’s longest serving assistants). Why was Sandusky not stopped in the first place?
Sandusky insisted throughout his trial that he was innocent of the charges against him, despite victim after victim describing in detail the flagrant behavior they experienced under his tutelage in the Second Mile program — a non-profit focused on helping underprivileged youth, which has since disbanded. He showed little remorse and was even defiant, insisting that a “veteran accuser” conspired against him. But nothing could shake the testimony of the eight victims who came forward—all of whom are young men now. And even as Sandusky received his verdict and looked at a prison term that he is unlikely to emerge from alive, they were unrelenting in their pursuit of justice. “I don’t forgive you, and I don’t know if I ever will forgive you,” one victim said at the sentencing. “I grew up in a bad situation, and you only made it worse.”