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Penn State Mont Alto students react to Sandusky sentence

October 09, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • At top, from left: Julie Reichard and Brett Niner. Bottom, from left: Duncan Yeisley and Nicole Montoya.
Photos by Caleb Calhoun

For students at Penn State Mont Alto and residents in the surrounding area, Tuesday’s sentencing of convicted child sexual abuser Jerry Sandusky brought reaction ranging from a sense of closure to a feeling that the sentence was not harsh enough.

A judge ordered Sandusky to serve at least 30 years in prison Tuesday.

“What he got is what he deserved, and the victims can sleep better knowing he can’t hurt anyone anymore,” Waynesboro, Pa., resident Camie Biggs, 19, said. “The sentence is fair.”

Despite what is effectively a life sentence for Sandusky, the 68-year-old former defensive coordinator for Penn State’s football program, Matthew Gossert, 20, of Waynesboro felt the sentence was not long enough.

“I think he should be in longer given the amount of kids he abused,” Gossert said. He added, “The school should try to help out the victims but not necessarily be held accountable for what happened.”

Three victims spoke at the sentencing and Sandusky also gave a statement denying the allegations.

Keith Carbaugh, 47, of Waynesboro said Penn State University should do something to help the victims and agreed with the sentencing.

“Maybe it’ll bring some closure to the victims,” he said. “That sentence is probably the rest of his life, but it wasn’t right to punish the Penn State players and students for what the adults did.”

Carlisle, Pa., resident Julie Reichard, 30, is a sophomore in the nursing program at the school and said the sentencing is good for the public and the victims but that Penn State students have taken an unfair amount of criticism.

“I’ve had people approach me after this happened telling me I should be ashamed of my sweatshirt, and I’ve had stickers stolen off my car,” she said. “I hope since this is all done, it will let people know that we are going to be the future and we do a lot of good. It’s sad that we have to be blamed for somebody else’s actions.”

New Oxford, Pa., resident Brett Niner, 19, is a sophomore at Penn State Mont Alto and said that he does not think there was anything wrong with the sentence.

“If he’s going to be in jail for the rest of his life, he’ll be in jail for the rest of his life,” he said. “I don’t know if you can have closure for something like that, but I guess it kind of might help the families feel a little bit better.”

Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, prompting a series of events that included the firing of longtime head coach Joe Paterno, allegations that the administration and Paterno covered up Sandusky’s crimes for nearly 13 years, and sanctions placed on the football team by the NCAA and a $60 million fine for the university.

Hagerstown resident Duncan Yeisley, 19, is a freshman at Penn State Mont Alto and said that he thinks Sandusky’s sentence is not harsh enough but the sanctions are not right.

“I believe he should be locked up for a lot more than 30 years,” he said. “What he did was completely wrong, but taking away football scholarships just because of him is completely unfair.”

Nicole Montoya, 27, of Waynesboro, is a freshman in the nursing program at Penn State Mont Alto. She said that a sentence for Sandusky’s crime can never be too light and added that the sentence will help with the negative impact the scandal had on the students.

“Now that it’s over I think people will let it die down and stop having a negative reaction toward Penn State students and the community in general,” she said. “Because I have two kids, anything that involves inappropriate action with kids should bring harsh punishments.”

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