Penn State’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno is under fire after two university officials stepped down over a child abuse sex scandal, leaving fans to question how much the iconic coach really knew.
Jerry Sandusky, a retired defensive coordinator for Paterno, was charged with sexually assaulting at least eight boys. The incidents spanned over 15 years, the Associated Press reports. The recent news prompted an emergency meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees, and resulted in the administrative leave of Tim Curley, the school’s athletic director, and the resignation of Gary Schulz, the senior vice president for business and finance.
The two high-ranking officials, who maintain their innocence, were charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities in 2002, when an assistant witnessed an incident in the team’s locker room showers with Sandusky. The witness, now identified as former quarterback and now coach Mike McQueary, reported to Paterno, who said he informed Curley but was unaware of the details of the episode.
“It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the grand jury report,” Paterno said in his statement. “Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at the that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.”
Sandusky, who was once thought to be Paterno’s successor, retired in 1999 but continued using Nittany Lions facilities for his charity, The Second Mile, a mentoring program for at-risk kids. The former coach, 67, is facing a 40-count indictment, including reports of sexual advances, touching, oral and anal sex.
Curley and Schulz face arraignment Monday, while Sandusky was released on $100,000 bail Saturday. Paterno has not been implicated in the case, but will surely draw attention for not following up on the reported abuse after he was informed. Paterno was honored in October for his 409th career win, and the last undefeated team in the Big Ten were enjoying a successful 8-1 record before the sex scandal was unveiled.
Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s attorney, said his client has maintained his innocence over the three-year investigation.
“He’s shaky, as you can expect,” Amendola told WJAC-TV. “Being 67 years old, never having faced criminal charges in his life and having the distinguished career that he’s had, these are very serious allegations.”
That being said, you would think Sandusky could have selected a better name for his autobiography.