When all was said and done, Jerry and Dottie Sandusky did not ask the judge for mercy. They did not try to extol Jerry's virtues, list good deeds or express regret. Instead, they depicted the boys he sexually assaulted as ungrateful and called them liars.
They blamed the young men -- including their own adopted son, Matt, who now claims he, too, was molested -- for their downfall.
In letters to the judge who would sentence the former coach, the Sanduskys portrayed themselves as virtuous victims of a vast conspiracy. They blamed powerful, image-conscious forces at Penn State University, lying cops, ambitious prosecutors and a scandal-hungry news media.
The couple's letters were mentioned in court on Tuesday but not read aloud. Judge John Cleland and the Centre County courts made them public, and CNN obtained copies.
In them, Jerry Sandusky expressed little sympathy for the 10 boys he was convicted of molesting. As he wrote about their families, he tried to shift the blame, pointing out that the boys came from unstable homes.
"Nobody mentioned the impact of abandonment, neglect, abuse, insecurity and conflicting messages that the biological parents might have had in this," he wrote. He said nothing about the damaged lives and institutions his molestation case left in its wake.
Instead, both Sanduskys wrote that the justice system let them down.
Just as letters to one of the boys he was accused of molesting helped secure his conviction, the letters to the judge all but guaranteed a maximum punishment, legal observers say.
Cleland, who presided over the trial and sentenced Sandusky on Tuesday to 30 to 60 years in prison, noted that others wrote letters as well. But he indicated that he considered only the Sanduskys' letters in handing down a sentence that, for a 68-year-old man, is likely to be a life prison term.
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