Joe Paterno on Sandusky charges: “If this is true, we were all fooled.”

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno has released a statement concerning felony child sex-abuse charges filed against his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, saying of the allegations: “If this is true, we were all fooled.”

Paterno testified before a grand jury in March, but has not been charged. Nor is he expected to be.

Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, vice president for business and finance, were charged with perjury and with failing to report to authorities a 2002 incident in which a graduate assistant said he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the locker room’s shower area. The graduate assistant told Paterno of the incident and he in turn informed Curley.

Paterno’s statement:

“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to  my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.

“Sue [Paterno’s wife] and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. 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.

“As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. 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. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

“I understand that people are upset and angry, but let’s be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.”

MORE

Mike Wise: If allegations are true, Penn State and Paterno are partly to blame

Court report: Grand jury finding (Warning: Contents are graphic.)

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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