With Penn State fans reeling, two university officials have stepped down and will be arraigned today in a Harrisburg, Pa., district court on charges of lying to a grand jury that was investigating child-abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and failing to report alleged abuse.
The school’s Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting late Sunday night and university President Graham Spanier announced that Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for business and finance, were stepping down. Both men maintain they’re innocent; Curley is on administrative leave and Schultz is returning to retirement.
Both are to be arraigned shortly after a 1 p.m. news conference held by Attorney General Linda Kelly and state police Commissioner Frank Noonan. On Saturday, Sandusky, 67, was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing children over a 15-year span that includes his days as an assistant coach at the school. One specific charge, from 2002, occurred after Sandusky had retired and was significant because it was witnessed by a graduate assistant, since identified as former quarterback and present assistant Mike McQueary, who reported it to Coach Joe Paterno. In a statement Sunday night, Paterno said he reported it to Curley.
“The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling,” Paterno’s statement said. “If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.”
Prosecutors contend that allegations of abuse first arose when Sandusky was still a coach, in 1998. The mother of an 11-year-old boy Sandusky met through The Second Mile, an organization he founded to help at-risk children, complained to campus police that her son had been touched and held by Sandusky in a shower in the football facility, according to the New York Times’ Mark Viera.
The Times reports that a “lengthy” investigation, which included similar allegations about another child, was conducted by campus police, but offered no details about the investigation or whether Paterno and university officials knew of it. Paterno’s son, Scott, said Sunday that his father was unaware of the 1998 investigation.
“Speaking on behalf of the family, if Joe had knowledge in ’98, it’s impossible for us to conceive that he wouldn’t have remembered that in 2002,” Scott Paterno said. “Any time he has been questioned whether he had prior knowledge to 2002, he’s answered the same way every time.”
Sandusky retired in 1999, when it was clear that he no longer would be Paterno’s successor, and said he would devote more time to The Second Mile. He continued, according to the Times, to enjoy campus privileges that included an office in the athletic facility and keys to the locker rooms.
In a statement issued Friday, the Second Mile said that Sandusky “has had no involvement in The Second Mile's children's programs and services since he made us aware of the allegations against him in November 2008. In August 2010, Jerry announced he was formally retiring from The Second Mile to attend to family and personal matters.”
Mike Wise: If allegations are true, Penn State and Paterno are partly to blame
Court report: Grand jury finding (Warning: Contents are graphic.)