HARRISBURG, Pa. — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been recommended for designation as a sexually violent predator, a legal status that would require lifetime registration with authorities, according to a person who has read an assessment board’s report to a judge in the case.
The recommendation from the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board was disclosed to The Associated Press on Thursday by the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the report’s confidential nature.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He is jailed awaiting sentencing and maintains his innocence.
Sandusky, given his age and the serious nature of the crimes of which he was convicted, is likely to receive a sentence that will keep him in prison for life. No sentencing date has been announced.
Pennsylvania law designates certain offenders as sexually violent predators if they are considered to have mental abnormalities or personality disorders that make them likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.
If prosecutors pursue the sexually violent predator status and Sandusky opposes it, Judge John Cleland will decide whether it is merited.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment on Thursday, and Sandusky defense attorney Joe Amendola did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.
Sexual Offenders Assessment Board spokesman Leo Dunn said the board does not comment on any case, but he noted it has never failed to complete an assessment within 90 days, as required. The judge ordered Sandusky’s evaluation by the board on June 22, shortly after the jury verdict.
Dunn said such evaluations are assigned to an investigator, who then reports his or her findings to a board member. The board member produces an evaluation, which includes a recommendation.
Some sex offenders must register under the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law for 10 years, but that requirement is lifelong for sexually violent predators, who must update their residences to the state police on a quarterly basis and prove they are participating in approved counseling.
Also, the chief law enforcement official in the community where a sexually violent predator lives is required to notify the public by producing a flier that bears the offender’s name, address, photograph and offense.
Eight young men testified against Sandusky, describing a range of abuse that went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys and included acts that occurred inside Penn State team showers.
One young man testified his muffled screams from the basement of the Sandusky home in State College, where Penn State is based, went unanswered as Sandusky attacked him.
“He got real aggressive and just forced me into it,” the 18-year-old testified. “And I just went with it – there was no fighting against it.”
Prosecutors said Sandusky used his status as a Penn State football icon and the charity for youth he founded, The Second Mile, to attract victims. He was arrested in November after a grand jury investigation that also led to charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse against university administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. Those charges, which the men deny, have not gone to trial.
Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno was fired by the university’s board of trustees days after Sandusky’s arrest, and the scandal also cost university president Graham Spanier his job. Paterno died of lung cancer in January, while Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime, remains a tenured faculty member.