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October 9, 2012

Sandusky to face sentencing today

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky and at least some of his victims plan to address the judge at his sentencing, a proceeding that may last less than two hours, lawyers said after a closed-door meeting to iron out logistics ahead of the Tuesday hearing.

Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola said “it’s as certain as certain can be” that the former Penn State assistant football coach will speak to Judge John Cleland and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

“What I anticipate he’ll say is he’s innocent,” Amendola said outside the courthouse Monday afternoon.

Amendola said he did not expect any others to speak on Sandusky’s behalf, although friends and family members — including his wife, Dottie — have written letters of support. Dottie Sandusky plans to attend the hearing, he said.

Given the number of charges, the serious nature of his crimes and his age, the 68-year-old Sandusky faces the likelihood of a sentence that will send him to state prison for the rest of his life. Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including some attacks inside Penn State athletic facilities.

“The important thing for us is, it starts the appellate process,” Amendola said.

One element of the appeal is expected to be a claim that the defense did not have time to adequately prepare for trial. Sandusky was charged in November, following a lengthy investigation.

Tom Kline, lawyer for a young man who said Sandusky groped him in a shower when he was 12 or 13, said his client plans to read a statement Tuesday.

“He’s going to tell the judge how this has affected him, how it’s been painful and difficult,” Kline said.

Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said as many as a half-dozen victims are expected to be heard.

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