BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison - effectively a life sentence - in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.

A defiant Sandusky gave a rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.

Three victims spoke, often fighting back tears. One looked Sandusky in the eyes at times during his statement.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach was found guilty in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as his personal hunting ground to find and groom boys to become his victims.

His arrest 11 months ago, and the details that came out during his trial over the summer, transformed Sandusky's public image from a college coach who had been widely admired for his work with The Second Mile charity into that of a reviled pervert who preyed on the very youngsters who sought his help.

Eight of the boys he was found guilty of molesting testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse. One of the prosecution's star witnesses, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary, testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room shower.

Sandusky has consistently maintained his innocence and plans to appeal.

In a three-minute monologue aired Monday night by Penn State Com Radio that used some of the same language as his courtroom statement, Sandusky said he knows in his heart that he did not do what he called "these alleged disgusting acts" and described himself as the victim of Penn State, investigators, civil attorneys, the media and others.

His statement in court lasted 15 minutes.

PHOTOS: (Story Continues Below)

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  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is escorted by police as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky Sentencing

    A crush of media and onlookers outside of Center County courthouse for Jerry Sandusky's sentencing.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for sentencing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse for a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in a scandal that rocked the university and brought down Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is escorted by Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau as he is taken into custody at the Centre County Courthouse after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years on Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, rear, leaves the Centre County Courthouse with a Centre County Sheriff's deputy after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Outside Courthouse

    The scene outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced.

  • Jerry Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, rear, and his wife Dottie leave the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012.

  • Dorothy Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's wife Dorothy Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Thursday, June 21, 2012.

  • Gary Schultz

    Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, right, arrives for a hearing at Dauphin County Court, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa.

  • Jerry Sandusky, Karl Rominger

    In this courtroom sketch, Karl Rominger, left, attorney for Jerry Sandusky, right, listen as the testimony of Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary is reenacted at the request of the jury during the second day of jury deliberations in Sandusky's child sexual abuse trial at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012.

  • FILE - This Dec. 7, 2011 file booking photo released by the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Penn. shows former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky.

  • Dottie Sandusky

    In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo, Dottie Sandusky, wife of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

  • The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., is shown Monday, Dec. 12, 2011.

  • Mike McQueary

    In this file photo from Jan. 25, 2012, former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary arrives to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus for the funeral service of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in State College, Pa.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing, in Bellefonte, Pa. Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have conducted 200 interviews in their expansive probe into the child sex scandal at Penn State.

  • This March 26, 2012 file photo shows the sign outside the State College, Pa. office of The Second Mile. The charity for troubled youths started by Jerry Sandusky more than three decades ago -- and through which the retired Penn State assistant football coach met the boys he was sexually abusing.

  • Gary Schultz, Tim Curley

    FILE - In these Nov. 7, 2011 file photos, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, left, and former athletic director Tim Curley, right, enter a district judge's office for an arraignment in Harrisburg, Pa., for their actions related to the sex abuse scandal surrounding former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Despite Sandusky

  • Karl Rominger

    FILE - In this file photo from Dec. 13, 2011, Karl Rominger, an attorney for former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period, stands outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Rominger entered his formal appearance on Sandusky's behalf in April 2012, but had previously been assisting with the defense. Despite Sandusky

  • Sue Paterno

    FILE - In this file photo from Jan. 26, 2012, Sue Paterno, wife of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, enters a memorial service at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa. A capacity crowd of more than 12,000 packed the arena for one more tribute to Paterno, the Hall of Fame football coach who died from lung cancer.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, speaks to the media at the Centre County Courthouse after a bail conditions hearing in Bellefonte, Pa. Alleged victims of Sandusky will not be allowed to avoid disclosure of their names by testifying under pseudonyms, and tweets or other electronic communications by reporters will not be permitted during the trial, the judge ruled Monday, June 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

  • Television satellite trucks set up outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, June 4, 2012, in preparation for the start of the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Joe Paterno

    FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2006 file photo, then Penn State coach Joe Paterno watches the college football game against Youngstown State in State College, Pa. Paterno, the Penn State football coach since 1966, was told by an assistant coach that he saw former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in a shower on the Penn State campus and Paterno in turn, told Penn State officials. The Penn State Board of Trustees ousted him on Nov. 6, 201 for what was called his

  • Tom Corbett

    FILE - In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Gov. Tom Corbett addresses a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa. Corbett was the attorney general when the investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was launched by state prosecutors. Sandusky is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period. Corbett also serves as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged in December. Despite Sandusky

  • Joe Amendola

    FILE - In this file photo from Dec. 13, 2011, Joe Amendola, attorney for former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period, talks with media outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Amendola has been second-guessed for allowing Sandusky to go on network television and speak at length with a reporter for The New York Times after his arrest. Despite Sandusky

  • Mike McQueary

    File-This Sept. 12, 2009 file photo shows Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary walking the sideline during the second half of their college football game against Syracuse in State College, Pa. McQueary, whose report of Jerry Sandusky allegedly attacking a child in the showers led to Joe Paterno's firing said in a court filing Tuesday May 8, 2012 that he is suing the school. The "writ of summons" filed by McQueary's lawyer described it as a whistle-blower case, but the brief document was not accompanied by a full complaint that would lay out the allegations. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster,File)

  • Jerry Sandusky, Joe Amendola

    FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center left, walks with his attorney Joe Amendola, center right, as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Of all the boys Sandusky is accused of molesting, none has been the focus of more outrage than the one known as Victim 2 _ the boy allegedly abused in a locker room shower, the case that ended Joe Paterno's career and the issue that spawned criminal charges against two school officials. Prosecutors say they don't know one important fact about him: his identity. The prospect that a victim in a sex abuse case is unknown presents a challenge for prosecutors; another potential complication is that Sandusky believes he knows the alleged victim _ and says he could help exonerate him. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

  • People display shirts asking the board to resign before a meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Friday, March 16, 2012 in Hershey, Pa. The trustees are meeting in Hershey to discuss potential changes to the board amid criticism over its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Joe Paterno

    FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno arrives home, in State College, Pa. Penn State's trustees say late coach Joe Paterno's failure to follow up on a sexual abuse allegation against former assistant Jerry Sandusky "constituted a failure of leadership" that ultimately led to his firing in November. A report issued Monday, March 12, 2012, by the trustees says the board ultimately decided to fire Paterno after learning the details of his testimony before a grand jury when charges were filed against Sandusky. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

  • Mike McQueary

    Former Penn State assistant football caoch Mike McQueary, left, arrives to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus for the funeral service of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in State College, Pa., Wednesday Jan. 25, 2012. As a graduate assistant to Paterno in 2002, McQueary went to the coach saying he had witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower at the Penn State football building. Paterno died Sunday at the age of 85. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

  • Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky

    <em>CORRECTION: Jerry Sandusky's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this slideshow. </em>

  • Jerry Sandusky, Dottie Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, right center, arrives with his wife Dottie, left center, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Friday, June 22, 2012. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Friday, June 22, 2012, after being found guilty in his sexual abuse trial, in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years Friday, accusations that had sent shock waves through the college campus known as Happy Valley and led to the firing of Penn State's beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)

Judge John Cleland sentenced him to 30 to 60 years in prison. Under Pennsylvania law, Sandusky cannot be released on parole before the minimum term is up.

"The tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal. The most obviously aspect is your betrayal of 10 children," Cleland said before the sentencing. "I'm not going to sentence you to centuries in prison, although the law will permit that." Still, Cleland said, he expected Sandusky to be in prison for the rest of his life.

The scandal brought devastation in State College that will take years to fully assess, as Sandusky's victims are pressing civil claims and a January trial is pending for Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, two university administrators charged with failing to properly report suspicions about Sandusky and lying to the grand jury that investigated him.

Soon after the three were arrested in November, the board of trustees fired Paterno, the school's most famous figure and a man who won two national college football championships in the 1980s. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.

Over the summer, an investigation commissioned by the university and led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno and other top officials covered up allegations against Sandusky for years to avoid bad publicity.

The scandal also toppled university President Graham Spanier and led to crippling NCAA sanctions against the football team that included a $60 million fine, a ban on postseason play and a reduction in the number of football scholarships the school can award. The NCAA also erased 14 years of victories for Paterno, stripping him of his standing as major college football's winningest coach.

At least four young men have sued Penn State over the way the university responded to disturbing complaints about Sandusky.

Eight legal teams representing at least 20 young men have surfaced, and the school recently announced an effort to settle as many claims as possible by the end of the year.

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