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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky made headlines in November 2011, when he was arrested on several sexual offenses related to children. He was later found guilty of 45 charges and sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in prison.
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Born in 1944, Jerry Sandusky earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and joined the school's football coaching staff in 1969. In 1977, Sandusky founded a charity called Second Mile for at-risk kids. It was through this group that he met several young boys, whom he has been accused of sexually abusing. Sandusky was arrested on these charges in 2011, and was found guilty of 45 charges the following June. In October 2012,
Sandusky was sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in prison.
Once a distinguished assistant coach in college football, Jerry Sandusky became infamous in 2011 for allegedly committing numerous sexual offenses involving young boys. His arrest triggered a scandal that sent shockwaves through the Pennsylvania State University community; led to the oust of the school's beloved head coach, Joe Paterno; and the resignation of the university president.
Sandusky grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania. His parents, Art and Evie, ran a community center known as the Brownson House, which offered youth programs. To many who knew Sandusky in his youth, his alleged 2011 crimes come as a surprise. He excelled at sports and did well in school. One former classmate told ESPN, "The Jerry Sandusky I knew 50 years ago was an outstanding football player, a pretty good student and, in general, a very good human being."
After graduating from Washington High School, Sandusky went to Pennsylvania State University. There, he played defensive end on the school's football team, then coached by Rip Engle (coached 1963-65). He earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education, and then attended graduate school.
Sandusky served as a graduate assistant on the Penn State football team in 1966. After stints at Juniata College and Boston University, he returned to his alma mater in 1969, as an assistant coach to Joe Paterno.
Sandusky spent 32 years on the football coaching staff at Penn State, serving as its defensive coordinator since 1977. During his tenure, Sandusky transformed the school's football program into Linebacker U. He coached such all-American linebackers as LaVar Arrington, Brandon Short and Jack Ham. Called a defensive strategy wizard, Sandusky is often credited for two of the team's national title victories—in 1982 and 1986.
Over the years, Sandusky turned down several chances to become a head coach at other colleges. One of the reasons he gave for staying at Penn State was his charity work with Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk kids in 1977. The organization offered support and services, including camp programs. He and his wife, Dottie, even adopted one of the children they met through Second Mile. The couple has five other children, all of whom were adopted. Sandusky took Second Mile kids with him to Penn State games, both at home and away. According to some reports, he also gave numerous gifts and money to some of the program participants.
On the surface, Sandusky appeared to be a highly respected coach and philanthropist.
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