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Sandusky runs risk of sexual assault in prison

Meanwhile, the ex-football coach’s lawyer says the 68-year-old will speak before his sentencing.

Jerry Sandusky (file photo).
Jerry Sandusky (file photo).

JERRY SANDUSKY COULD be in particular danger of sexual assault when he is sent off to prison this week.

Statistics compiled by the federal government show that sex offenders like the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach are roughly two to four times more likely than other inmates to be sexually assaulted.

Sandusky will be sentenced Tuesday for molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

His lawyer says he hopes the prison system takes steps to protect his client. The Pennsylvania Corrections Department won’t disclose precisely what it plans to do but says it strives to keep all inmates safe.

The US corrections industry has long struggled with sexual violence.

In 2008, more than 200,000 inmates in American prisons, jails and juvenile detention centres were victims of sexual abuse, according to the Justice Department. Male sex offenders were among those at highest risk: Nearly 14 percent reported having been sexually assaulted at least once while incarcerated.

Meanwhile, Sandusky’s lawyer said Monday “it’s as certain as certain can be” that the former Penn State assistant football coach will address the judge and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

Nobody else is expected to speak on Sandusky’s behalf during the sentencing hearing Tuesday in Bellefonte, defence attorney Joe Amendola said.

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

The attorney said others, including Sandusky’s wife, have submitted letters on his behalf and that Dottie Sandusky stands by her husband and will attend the sentencing.

“He’s going to fight for a new trial,” Amendola said. He said “the important thing” about sentencing for the defence “is it starts the appellate process.”

Amendola made the comments Monday afternoon before he participated in a closed-door meeting with prosecutors and Judge John Cleland to discuss hearing logistics. Lawyers for the attorney general’s office said they would comment to reporters after the meeting.

Sentencing is expected to begin with a hearing to determine if Sandusky qualifies as a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania’s version of Megan’s Law, after which Sandusky will be sentenced.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, given his age and serious nature of his convictions. Several of the counts carry mandatory minimum sentences of five or 10 years.

Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including some attacks inside university athletic facilities.

Comments have been closed on this story due to the sensitive nature of the topic.

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