Dan Wetzel: In The Courtroom For Sandusky's Sentencing

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Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Tuesday after being sentenced for child sexual abuse. (AP/Matt Rourke)
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Tuesday after being sentenced for child sexual abuse. (AP/Matt Rourke)

On Tuesday, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison after being convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse. Dan Wetzel, a columnist for Yahoo! Sports, took note of his demeanor.

“It was very defiant and, many of us would say, delusional,” Wetzel told Bill on this week's Only A Game.  “But it was mainly about letting people know that they weren’t going to get to him. He maintains his innocence.”

Wetzel said it was an emotional day for many of the victims on hand for the sentencing.

“Probably more upsetting to people was that he played the victim card, played the martyr card, and then spent a lot of time discussing how his life was so well-lived and all of the good times would carry him through the darkness and difficulty of being in prison,” Wetzel said. “It was a clear kind of purposeful move, no remorse, and a little bit of an attack back on the victims and their families.”

The day before his sentencing, Sandusky made his first public statement since the trial began, which aired on a local radio station.  In it, he told people to question the victims.

“There was a lot of anger about that too," Wetzel said. "It was a very intense room—a lot of anger, a lot of emotion. But I think that’s how he wanted it.”

Wetzel said he thought the radio statement was a strategic move on Sandusky’s part, aimed at emotionally affecting the people involved.

“This is a guy who you could say anything bad about him you want, and I’ve tried.  But no one has ever said he wasn’t intelligent, calculating—he was a great defensive coordinator. He knew how to orchestrate things and get to people, and he was clearly doing that on Tuesday.”

Mike McQueary, a former assistant coach for Penn State, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit a week before Sandusky’s sentencing.

“He told that he saw Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a boy ten years before, but when it came out in the grand jury presentment last November, he was immediately relieved of his duties, with pay, but then he was not renewed to a new contract. He believes he’s out of work because of the whole situation at Penn State." Wetzel explained.  "He’s currently a guy that had built a career and now can’t get hired anywhere, let alone his job at Penn State.”

Penn State has set up a fund for victims, but so far only one person has sued the university. In the wake of Sandusky’s sentencing, Wetzel expects more lawsuits may emerge.

“I would imagine everyone who testified already in the criminal proceedings will sue, and you could see additional victims come forward who didn’t want to participate in the criminal trials but may want to in the civil cases or allegations.”

The Penn State commissioned Freeh report, released in July, will likely make it difficult for the university to defend itself against lawsuits.

“That really lambasted the university and all but accused the school of a major cover up,” Wetzel said. “I don’t think the civil attorneys for the victims could have written a better document. So, it’s almost an open bank at this point at Penn State.”

This segment aired on October 13, 2012.


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