The door officially slammed shut on the rest of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandus ky’s life on Tuesday, almost a year after the child sexual abuse charges against him first surfaced. It’s almost impossible to find a positive in a situation that was as heinous as this one. But now that it’s over, the best we can hope for is that San dus ky’s acts and his subsequent prosecution prove that allegations of child sexual abuse should never be ignored, dismissed or covered up again. Ever. Let’s hope that the light that was shined on this dark issue be comes a bright flame that never goes out.
Sandusky’s behavior when he was sentenced to serve between 30 and 60 years in prison, essentially a life sentence for a 68-year-old man, was especially troubling. He chose defiance instead of remorse, continuing to deny the allegations, even after a jury found him guilty of 45 counts of child sexual abuse for molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky may be in denial, but it’s a denial that borders on arrogance. On Monday, he released a statement to Penn State Radio in which he described himself as a "victim" claiming that the whole incident was a "coordinated conspiracy" among Penn State, investigators, civil attorneys and, of course, the media. The judge who sentenced Sandusky on Tuesday referred to his comments about a conspiracy as "unbelievable."
But Sandusky’s stance doesn’t seem so far-fetched when one considers the lengths that Penn State went to pretend his actions never happened. There’s plenty of blame to go around here: The internal investigation into Sandusky’s actions by former FBI Director Louis Freeh was devastating. It confirmed the rumors about how the university officials covered up the allegations fearing bad publicity. With all his enablers gone, Sandusky still couldn’t come to terms with what he was convicted of.