Jerry Sandusky Sentenced To At Least 30 Years In Prison And It Still Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

jail cellA Pennsylvania judge sentenced Jerry Sandusky to at least 30 years in prison today. Given that the former Penn State coach is already 68 years old, the ruling is essentially a life sentence for the man convicted of raping 10 boys over the past 15 years. All in all, he was found guilty on 45 different counts. Am I the only one thinking that whether this individual dies behind bars or not, the sentence still doesn’t feel like enough?

Realistically, I know that there is no “Burn in Hell” ruling, which had my colleague Eve Vawter’s vote as an appropriate punishment. Is there any sentence that can erase the despicable crimes Sandusky committed or make the victims of those crimes whole? Of course there isn’t. It’s possible that there isn’t a punishment in the world that will make anyone feel better about this man or the abuse he was able to carry out for more than a decade.

However, when I think about 30 years, it still seems too light for crimes of this magnitude. If you break it down, that’s only three years for each of the minors Sandusky sexually assaulted. That’s a measly eight months for each of the charges he was convicted of. It’s only because of the insanely large number of crimes that this adds up to equal a life sentence for this man.

What if the same crimes were committed by a man who was 20 years younger than Sandusky?  Would it really be appropriate for that person to get out of jail when they’re 78? What if a person was only convicted on three counts of sexual assault instead of 45? Should that person be able to get out of jail in two years, eight months for each charge?

The punishments for rape and sexual assault are grossly minimal. Our justice system fails survivors in so many ways, but mostly by refusing to take a hard line with those who are found guilty of rape, molestation or sexual assault. In this case, the entire country was watching. Obviously, the judge could not be too easy on Sandusky for fear of the serious backlash that would occur. They no doubt wanted to ensure that the punishment would never allow this man to walk free.

Somehow, that makes the decision even worse. This 30 year sentence was them basically throwing the book at Sandusky. This is how they get hard on a child molester, by giving him three years for each child he raped. So think about just how lenient they get when not everyone is paying attention.

Jerry Sandusky should get life in prison and not through a technicality. Or he should receive a decade for every child that he abused. He should have a sentence so long, it’s almost laughable.

For what it’s worth, Sandusky made a statement in court continuing to proclaim his innocence. He believes this entire thing is a conspiracy against him, concocted by victims, Penn State, the media and the police. It’s notable that he blames the university that covered for him for so long.

Jerry Sandusky is a monster who raped and abused children. He preyed on the most vulnerable and he got away with it for years. No sentence will ever make us feel better about the fact that people like him exist. But if this is how we get tough on rapists, no wonder so few victims are willing to come forward.

(Photo: albund/Shutterstock)

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