On the eve of his sentencing for dozens of counts of child sex abuse, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky released a defiant recording proclaiming his innocence and blaming a "well-orchestrated" web of conspirators for his downfall.
The three-minute statement, which aired on Penn State's student-run radio station, read as follows:
I’m responding to the worst loss of my life. First I looked at myself. Over and over, I asked why? Why didn’t we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial? Why have so many people suffered as a result of false allegations?What’s the purpose? Maybe it will help others. Some vulnerable children who could be abused might not be as a result of all the publicity. That would be nice, but I’m not sure about it. I would cherish the opportunity to become a candle for others as they have been a light for me.
They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage. Our love continues.
A young man who is dramatic and a veteran accuser and always sought attention started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won. I've wondered what they really won. Attention, financial gain, prestige will all be temporary.
Before you blame me, as others have, look at everything and everybody. Look at the preparation for the trial and the trial. Compare it to others. Think about what happened, why and who made it happen. Evaluate the accusers and their families. Realize they didn't come out of isolation. The accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. Look at their confidants and their honesty. Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention, and potential perks. I never labeled or put down them or their families. I tried and I cared, then asked for the same. Please realize all came to the Second Mile because of issues. Some of those may remain.
We will continue to fight. We didn’t lose to proven facts, evidence, accurate locations, and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me. We must fight unfairness, inconsistency, and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are. We’ve not been complainers. When we couldn’t have kids we adopted. When we didn’t have time to prepare for trial we still gave it our best. We will fight for another chance. We have given many second chances and now will ask for one.
It will take more than our effort. Justice will have to be more than just a word. Fairness be more than just a dream. It will take others. Somebody apolitical with the courage to listen, to think about the unfairness, to have the guts to stand up and take the road less traveled. I ask for the strength to handle everything and the willingness to surrender only to God regardless of the outcome.
The statement was recorded in a visitation room at the jail. It was then given to the radio station by Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola, who Monday contacted a station employee whom Sandusky knew. The employee asked NBC10 not to release his name.
Sandusky will be sentenced Tuesday morning, following his June conviction of 45 counts of child sex abuse.
The recording is the first time the world has heard Sandusky speak since he was led off in handcuffs from a crowded courthouse late that Friday night, June 22. He appeared stunned and uncomprehending of the verdict that had just been read against a man who had helped build Penn State's vaunted football team.
Sandusky, who oversaw the team's powerful defense for 30 years, was accused of preying on young boys whom he met through his Second Mile Charity, a group devoted to helping under-privileged children.
The allegations that he raped some of these boys, forcing himself on one in a Penn State locker room shower and another in his own basement, were unthinkable on their own. But they were particularly astonishing as Sandusky had been revered in the community as a man who took kids to football games, helped them find their way through tough lives and even adopted them.
The late head coach Joe Paterno, arguably the most important figure in modern Penn State history, was fired amid allegations he did not properly report concerns about Sandusky to law enforcement officials. Two other top Penn State officials, athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz, have yet to face trial on charges they lied to a grand jury about their knowledge of Sandusky's crimes.
The NCAA hit Penn State with a $60 million fine, vacated all wins going back to 1998 and reduced the number of scholarships.
In an exclusive interview with NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn, Amendola said he and the rest of his legal team fully expect Sandusky, who is 68, to get a sentence that would be "tantamount to a life sentence" Tuesday.
Amendola said they're expecting the sentence to be "very lengthy, very significant," but they're eager for it to happen because procedurally it triggers the appeals process.
Sandusky expects to ultimately be vindicated, according to Amendola, and has spent much of his time in jail writing a detailed document he thinks will be key to getting his case overturned.
"He has an explanation. He has a very thorough explanation as to why each of these accusers lied about it, made up the stories — every one. And had he testified, he would have gone down the list, methodically, for everyone who accused him and had an explanation," Amendola said.
Amendola said to expect Sandusky to be thinner when he arrives in court Tuesday, dressed in his orange prison jump suit, because as Amendola put it, the prison food isn't quite as good as his wife Dottie's cooking.
"He's lost weight. But he's feisty... I marvel at his good-naturedness. He really anticipates he's going to get another shot at this," Amendola said.