In letters to judge, Sandusky, wife were defiant
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and his wife wrote defiant letters to his judge before sentencing, attacking the motives of his victims, expressing a loss of faith in the judicial system and insisting he isn’t a child molester.
The letters were released Thursday by Judge John Cleland, two days after he sentenced Sandusky to at least 30 years in prison for 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
The scandal tarnished the reputation of the university and its once-venerated football program and shocked a country where college sports are revered. It led to the firing of Joe Paterno, the team’s longtime head football coach, amid allegations that he and other top school officials looked the other way for years while Sandusky abused his victims. Paterno died from lung cancer in January.
Dottie Sandusky wrote July 9 that she never saw her husband do anything inappropriate to any child, a statement that echoed her trial testimony. She was deeply critical of her son Matt Sandusky, who had been expected to be a defense witness until the trial, when he claimed to investigators he also had been abused by Jerry Sandusky.
Matt Sandusky has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, “but he refuses to take his medication,” she wrote. “He has had many run-ins with the law and stolen money and items from our family.”
Matt Sandusky’s civil lawyer Joel Feller, who also represents at least five other victims or potential claimants, said the letters were part of a failed strategy to blame others for Jerry Sandusky’s crimes.
“Matt is extremely disappointed that they have decided to attack him in what amounts to an effort to divert attention away from Jerry’s heinous crimes,” Feller said Thursday.
Jim Koval, director of communications for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, provided the letters on Cleland’s behalf and said no other ones would be released.
“The letters from Jerry and Dottie Sandusky are the only letters the judge referred to in the sentencing hearing,” Koval said. “Other letters received had no bearing on the sentencing.”
Dottie Sandusky told Cleland she had lost faith in the legal system.
“To think that they can lie and get away with the lies,” she wrote. “The press has been unbelievable. People who have not met us are writing untruths.”
She did not return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Thursday. On Tuesday, she declined to comment when asked if she felt justice had been done.
Jerry Sandusky’s three-page letter, dated Sept. 27, starts out by saying he did not expect leniency and was not asking for it. In many places, he used the same or similar language as the statement he read in court before sentencing and in a radio statement he released late Monday.
He began by saying his conviction had been orchestrated and then spoke of the victims and their families.
“They have been rewarded for forgetting, fabricating and exaggerating,” he wrote. “Maybe they will have a better place to live, a new car, access to more highs, but they won’t change. Most of their rewards will be very temporary.”
He wrote of crying as he thought of separation from his family and friends, and reading inspirational books in a search of strength.
“My trust in people, systems and fairness has diminished,” he wrote. “My faith in God who sends light through darkness has remained. My heart has been broken but still works.”
Eight young men testified at trial that Sandusky had abused them as children, including grooming, fondling, oral sex and anal sex. Three of them spoke in court at the sentencing, while a written statement by a fourth was read into the record.
Three other victims who testified at trial — all currently represented by Feller’s legal team — submitted a joint statement to Cleland, which has not been released publicly.
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