"Some of the labeling and the treatment hurt, but they don't compare to their absence," he said.
His family and supporters wept throughout his statement.
Afterward, lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan praised the bravery of the victims who came forward.
"None of them wish to re-live the events to which they were subjected, or to have their victimization exposed," McGettigan said. "Anyone of them could have walked away from this case, up until the moment they took the witness stand. Instead, each of them chose to testify, and in doing so demonstrated personal courage and desire to speak the truth, not just for themselves, but for other victims."
Scott Berkowitz, the president and founder of the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), issued a statement shortly after the sentence was delivered.
"Now that Sandusky will be locked up and unable to harm more children, our hope is that even more survivors will take their first steps towards recovery—with the confidence that their family, friends and community will believe them and support them," Berkowitz said.
Sandusky, 68, will now be moved to the Camp Hill processing facility outside Harrisburg, where he will undergo testing and classification before receiving a permanent prison assignment.
Updated at 12:38 p.m.