BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Defiant and unrepentant, Jerry Sandusky accused his victims of lodging "false allegations" against him in a taped jailhouse statement aired by a local radio station one day before he was set to be sentenced on 45 counts of child sex abuse.
The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach blamed a conspiracy driven by aggressive investigators, lying accusers and the media for putting him behind bars and questioned whether anything good could come from the publicity his case has received.
The three-minute statement was aired late Monday by Penn State's student-run radio station.
"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," he said. "In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts." His statements coincided with signals from his defense team Monday that it had abandoned plans to plead for leniency during his sentencing hearing today and instead shifted focus to appealing Sandusky's conviction.
"The bottom line is this," Sandusky's attorney Joseph Amendola said, emerging Monday afternoon from an in-chambers conference with Judge John Cleland. "How can he be remorseful if he maintains his innocence?"
Under state sentencing guidelines, Judge John Cleland could impose a sentence of anywhere from 10 to more than 400 years for the 45 counts of child sex abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in June.
Those charges include multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of minors, the most serious of which carry 10-year minimum sentences. The judge could decide to have Sandusky serve them concurrently rather than consecutively.
Throughout the former coach's two-week trial, eight young men testified that the man many had looked at as a mentor and father figure had molested them, many over a period of years.
In all, prosecutors presented evidence implicating Sandusky in the abuse of 10 boys, all of whom he met through the Second Mile, the charity he founded for underprivileged youth. Many testified they were abused on Penn State's campus.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III said Monday that as many as six of those men would take the stand today in hopes of persuading Cleland that Sandusky's crimes warrant the harshest punishment possible.