By Ian Simpson
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky learns whether he will spend his life in prison at his sentencing for child sex abuse on Tuesday, just hours after broadcasting a statement proclaiming his innocence and denouncing his accusers.
Sandusky, 68, faces a sentence of hundreds of years in prison after being convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse for molesting 10 boys over 15 years, some in the football team's showers on campus.
On the eve of his sentencing, Sandusky released a taped statement on Penn State's student radio station in which he denied he committed the "alleged disgusting acts" and said his wife has been his only sex partner.
"Why didn't we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial? Why have so many people suffered as a result of false allegations?" Sandusky said in a flat voice devoid of emotion, which his lawyer verified as the former defensive coordinator for Penn State's powerhouse football team.
"I'm responding to the worst loss of my life," Sandusky said in the statement recorded by phone from jail.
"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner. That was after marriage."
Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, known for his unorthodox approach in dealing with the media, reached out to the radio station earlier in the day to make the recording, a station spokesman said.
In his recorded statement, Sandusky, who never testified at his trial, denounced the men who had testified that he sexually abused them as juveniles, recruiting them through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youth.
The men accused him of crimes ranging from fondling to oral and anal abuse over 15 years, including a rape in the football team's showers in 2001.
"A young man who was ... a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything," Sandusky said of Victim 1, whose accusations triggered an investigation that uncovered several other victims.
"He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won. I've wondered what they really won: Attention, financial gain, prestige," Sandusky said in the recording.
In response to the statement, Victim 5's lawyer said it showed Sandusky still refused to accept responsibility for his crimes.
"It's not unexpected, but it's sad and unfortunate that Mr. Sandusky can't come to terms with the avalanche of evidence and conviction by the jury," said attorney Tom Kline of Philadelphia.
ACCUSERS TO HAVE FINAL SAY
Victim 5 was expected to be among as many as six of Sandusky's accusers returning to court on Tuesday to make a final statement before Judge John Cleland sentences Sandusky.
"Anything over 20 years is a life sentence. We're anticipating that," said Amendola, who is preparing an appeal contending the defense did not have enough time to prepare for the high-profile trial.
Sandusky's case jolted the world of college athletics, where Penn State football reigned for decades under legendary coach Joe Paterno. On grounds that they failed to act on what they knew about Sandusky's behavior, Paterno was fired, as was university President Graham Spanier. Paterno died in January of lung cancer at age 85.
Before sentencing, Pennsylvania's Sexual Offenders Assessment Board will report to Cleland on its evaluation of whether Sandusky is a sexually violent predator. The designation would put him under reporting requirements if he were to be released from prison on probation.
For Sandusky's full statement, please click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/psucomradio/posts/10151176488566380
(Additional reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Christopher Wilson)
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