By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
That was the reaction of some Mercer Countians to Coach Jerry Sandusky’s sentencing Tuesday to 30 to 60 years in prison for child sex abuse in a scandal that rocked Penn State, where Sandusky was a football mastermind for decades.
Some students at Penn State Shenango in Sharon weren’t aware Tuesday afternoon of the former assistant coach’s sentencing, and people at downtown eateries and newsstands weren’t talking about the case.
Amber Edeburn, 20, of Sharon, is a sophomore at Penn State Shenango thinking about pursuing a career in criminal justice. She admitted she hasn’t followed the case, but said “I think it’s fair” to the sentence handed down Tuesday.
“He doesn’t deserve to die,” Edeburn said. Sandusky’s was not a capital case.
Her study partner Kyle Davis, 19, said he reads e-mails related to the scandal sent by the college, but otherwise hasn’t followed the case.
“I don’t see this scandal as affecting me in any way,” said Davis, a sophomore majoring in administration of justice.
A few miles away at the Nittany Pub at Thornton Hall in Sharon, owner Jon Lapikas said it’s time to move beyond the scandal.
“Put it to rest. They’ve dragged it out too long,” Lapikas said. “He got his sentence. He did a wrong thing and he got penalized for it.
“You feel bad for the victims. Hopefully the sentence was enough for them to heal and move on.”
The case has taken some of the “luster” away from Penn State football, Lapikas said, because they won’t be playing for a championship anytime soon.
The sentence could have been stiffer, said Dan Davis of Mercer.
Although the sentence for the 68-year-old Sandusky essentially amounts to the rest of his life behind bars, “I’ve seen sentences like that go for longer, from 100 years to several hundred,” Davis said.
Davis is a criminal defense attorney and a 1988 Penn State alumnus.
“I was distressed about some of the things the university did,” as the case against Sandusky unraveled over the last year, he said, but added it appeared the university is now trying to do “what’s right.”
Ed Pryts, a 1982 alumnus who starred as a linebacker under Sandusky’s tutelage, said he had no inkling about Sandusky’s private perversions.
“This was quite shocking,” Pryts said. “He kept this well-hidden. He really led two lives.”
Tuesday’s sentencing allows everyone to move “one step closer to closure,” Pryts said. “Putting this chapter behind and moving forward.”
“It’s just unfathomable you have to deal with this,” he said.