NEW: Lawyer for victim says Sandusky should confess to help healing process
Sandusky makes audio statement on eve of sentencing hearing
He says that he knows in his heart he is innocent
Former coach could face life in prison after conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse
In an audio statement made while he sits in a jail cell awaiting sentence, convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky says that while others make him out to be a monster, he is a falsely accused man who will continue to protest his innocence.
“They could take away my life, they could make me out as a monster, they could treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart,” the former coach at Penn State says. “In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”
Sandusky co-counsel Karl Rominger confirmed the audio statement is legitimate.
“If he wants to say that, God bless the First Amendment,” Rominger said.
Penn State University’s ComRadio first aired the audio clip on its website Monday evening.
Sandusky, a 68-year-old former defensive coordinator who ran a charity after he retired from coaching, faces up to life in prison. He is scheduled to be the final speaker at a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
“We will continue to fight,” he said in the audio statement. “We didn’t lose the proven facts, evidence, accurate locations and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me.”
Sandusky needs to confess his guilt, said an attorney for the person identified in court as Victim No. 4.
“One thing that’s critical for victims’ healing is an acknowledgment of guilt. (Sandusky) is stunting that healing,” attorney Ben Andreozzi. “He is either delusional, or the victim of one of the most comprehensive conspiracies of mankind.”
Another victim’s attorney, Tom Kline, said the lack of contrition was to be expected. He called the statement “sad and unfortunate.”
The attorney for a man who claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by Sandusky while a child said the statement is a reminder that child predators justify their actions.
“Pedophiles often believe they did not do anything wrong. In their twisted universe, they helped their victims and loved them,” said Marci Hamilton, an attorney for Travis Weaver, now 30. Weaver did not testify in Sandusky’s trial, but did file a civil action against the former coach.
It has been nearly a year since the Penn State scandal erupted, leading to the firing of iconic head football coach Joe Paterno and the ouster of the university’s longtime president.
Jurors determined in June that Sandusky used his access to university facilities and a foundation he founded for under-privileged youth to sexually abuse 10 boys over a 15-year period.
His attorney, Joe Amendola, said Monday that his client, who is being held in the Centre County, Pennsylvania, jail, plans to read a statement before the court. Sandusky’s statement should take five to 10 minutes, he said, but likely will steer clear of the argument he failed to receive a fair trial. On Monday the judge made it clear sentencing wouldn’t be the place for such legal arguments, Amendola said.
On June 22, Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse, ranging from corruption of minors to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, which were laid out in graphic testimony by his accusers over the course of the less-than-two-week trial.
His attorneys will have 10 days after the sentencing to appeal the decision.
At least of three of Sandusky’s victims are expected to be in attendance on Tuesday, according to their attorneys. Two of them plan to address the former coach directly, while the third is expected to have a statement read by prosecutors.
The statement from Victim No.4 “will convey anger,” said Andreozzi said. “He is nowhere near forgiving Sandusky.”
Members of Sandusky’s family, including his wife, Dottie, will submit letters of support to the court as will some of the former participants in the Second Mile foundation, Amendola said.
During the trial, which garnered national attention and cast a shadow on Penn State’s heralded football program, the 23-year-old victim testified that he was only 13 when Sandusky sexually abused him in a university shower.
That account is separate from a 2001 incident about which graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified, saying that he saw the former coach pressed up against the back of a boy in the shower room of the Lasch Football Building.
Prosecutors described during the trial how Sandusky showered with the boy, using locker room “soap fights” as a pretext for abuse.
Sandusky’s attorneys say they plan to appeal the guilty verdict, and will argue that the jury’s opinions had been tainted by a prosecution reference to a disturbing interview their client did with NBC’s Bob Costas prior to the trial.
Members of the defense team have also maintained that they were denied sufficient time to prepare.
Less than a month after Sandusky’s conviction, former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his university-funded report that blamed Paterno, Spanier, suspended Athletic Director Tim Curley and ex-Vice President Gary Schultz for taking part in a cover-up to avoid bad publicity.
Freeh also said Paterno could have stopped the attacks had he done more, though neither McQueary, Sandusky nor Paterno – who died in January – were interviewed by his investigators.
Attorneys for Spanier blasted the review, calling it a “blundering, indefensible indictment” and “a flat-out distortion of facts” that was “infused with bias and innuendo.”
In July, the NCAA imposed sanctions against Penn State, including a $60 million fine, scholarship reductions, the vacating of 112 wins of the football team, five years’ probation and a bowl ban for four years.
CNN’s Ross Levitt contributed to this report