U.S. News

New hearing, same sentence for convicted Penn State child molester Jerry Sandusky

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (Reuters) - A resentencing hearing on Friday for former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky resulted in the same penalty that he received after his 2012 conviction for sexually assaulting teenage boys: 30 to 60 years in prison, likely the rest of his life.

FILE PHOTO: Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky (C), a former assistant football coach at Penn State University, leaves after his appeal hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, U.S. on October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pat Little

Sandusky was granted the hearing because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that minimum sentencing requirements, such as those on which his original sentence was based, were unconstitutional.

Sporting a faded orange prison jumpsuit, Sandusky smiled broadly to spectators, including his wife Dottie, as he entered the courtroom at the Centre County Court of Common Pleas in Bellefonte, where his trial was held seven years ago.

His shoulders slumped when he heard Visiting Judge Maureen Skerda reimpose the 30-to-60-year sentence on him.

“I know you maintain your innocence,” Skerda told Sandusky. “But you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers, and the court must hold you accountable.”

The hearing, ordered in February by Pennsylvania Superior Court, took place just 10 miles (16 kms) from Pennsylvania State University, where Sandusky served as an assistant to longtime head coach Joe Paterno.

In June 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 25 felonies and 20 misdemeanors stemming from charges that he molested 10 boys between 1994 and 2009.

A statement by one of boys, identified as Victim 5, was read aloud in court by Pennsylvania Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm.

“I was 13 and Jerry Sandusky lured me into the Penn State shower and made me touch him,” the statement said. “Horseplay, he called it. But it was sexual assault.”

Sandusky, who will not be eligible for parole until he turns 98 years old, has sought without success to have his conviction overturned.

“We will continue fighting,” his lawyer, Al Lindsay, told reporters after the brief hearing. “And I think we’ll be successful.”

The same court that ordered his resentencing in February rejected Sandusky’s request for a new trial based on his claim that he had ineffective legal counsel, a decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to review.

Sandusky’s appellate lawyer, Peter Goldberger, last month sought to petition a federal court to vacate his conviction, but was told he could not do so until he is resentenced.

Sandusky, who founded the now-defunct Second Mile charity for at-risk youth, has been held at the state’s Laurel Highlands correctional facility in Somerset.

Writing by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio