STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (MCT)— The young men who testified that Jerry Sandusky sexually abused them finally will have the chance today to say exactly how the abuse by the man they trusted has affected them.
They may look Sandusky in the eye. They may speak out in anger. They may be somber. Some may not want anything to do with the moment, instead choosing to keep their feelings private.
That opportunity, in open court face to face with their abuser, is called a victim impact statement and will come during Sandusky’s sentencing hearing today.
It is just one part of the sentencing hearing, which is when a defendant receives his or her punishment from the judge.
In Sandusky’s case, he was convicted in June of 45 counts of abusing the young boys he met through The Second Mile, the charity he started. Given the number of counts, the 68-year-old Sandusky is facing the rest of his life in a state prison.
Sandusky was convicted of eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, which are first-degree felonies that alone carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years behind bars. He was also convicted of multiple counts of indecent assault, corruption of minors, child endangerment and unlawful contact with minors.
The jury found that some of the offenses, like corruption of minors, were ongoing instead of a one-time occurrence. The ongoing nature, legally called a course of conduct, provides for a harsher punishment.
The fines associated with the counts could be substantial, too.
Prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan likely will ask Senior Judge John Cleland to make as many of the counts run consecutive to one another. McGettigan also likely will ask for the judge to hand down the maximum sentence for each count.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola has said he would ask the judge to run some of the counts concurrent to one another, although he acknowledged that might be futile.