While people usually ask the judge for leniency prior to their sentencing, Jerry Sandusky and his wife Dottie took a more unconventional approach. In letters sent Judge John Cleland following the former Penn State football coach’s conviction, which were made public on Wednesday after Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, they repeated their claim that Sandusky is the victim of a conspiracy by Penn State officials, prosecutors, and the media. According to CNN, they also took the opportunity to lash out at Matt Sandusky, the youngest of their six adopted children, who said in June that his father molested him. “People need to know what kind of person [Matt] is,” Dottie said in the letter. “We have forgiven him many times for all he has done to our family, thinking that he was changing his life, but he would always go back to his stealing and lies. He has been diagnose (sic) Bipolar, but he refuses to take his medicine.”
Judge Cleland indicated that he received several letters from those involved in the case, and considered those from the Sanduskys when handing down the sentence. Sandusky expounded on many of the ideas expressed in his victim-blaming statement to Penn State’s radio station on Monday night, and his rambling fifteen-minute remarks in court on Tuesday. “The system protected the system, the media, the prosecution, the civil attorneys and the accusers. Everybody protected themselves,” he wrote, lamenting, “My trust in people, systems and fairness has diminished.”
While it doesn’t seem that Sandusky’s words have won anyone over this week, he told the judge that he believes he lost the case mainly because he didn’t testify, and his 33-year-old son’s revelation was a major factor in that decision. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Sandusky had planned to testify in his defense, but his attorneys were concerned that Matt could be called as a rebuttal witness. “Our son changed our plans when he switched sides,” wrote Sandusky. “I was supposed to be David but failed to pick up the sling shot. Goliath won, and I must deal with the outcome.”
Dottie Sandusky had some less harsh words for her son, saying, “We still love him and want the best for him,” though she added that “because of his actions we cannot express this to him.” Matt Sandusky’s lawyers refused to discuss whether he’s been diagnosed with a mental illness, as his mother suggested, but they say he’s still planning to sue his father in civil court.