Paterno, 84, testified before the grand jury and has not been charged in the case against Sandusky, who was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight children involved in his charity organization. However, at issue is whether Paterno did enough when presented with an eyewitness account of one of the alleged assaults in the showers of the Penn State locker room and to what degree he is responsible for everything that happens in the program over which he has presided for 46 years.
Athletic Director Tim Curley, to whom Paterno relayed the report of the alleged assault, and Gary Schultz, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business, have been charged with failing to notify authorities when told of the alleged assault. Both stepped down from their posts Sunday night. Lawyers for Sandusky, Curley and Schultz have said their clients are innocent of their respective charges.
The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, reported on its Web site that Penn State officials had begun discussing how to manage the end of Paterno’s tenure as coach. The Associated Press reported that Paterno’s support among members of the university’s board of trustees was “eroding.”
The trustees issued a statement Tuesday night saying it “is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury Report” and promising “swift, decisive action.” The statement also said that at Friday’s regular meeting it would appoint a special committee to investigate the allegations.
On Tuesday morning, when the Harrisburg Patriot-News devoted its entire front page to an editorial calling for university president Graham Spanier to step down and for this to be Paterno’s last season as coach, hundreds of reporters descended on campus to hear the coach answer questions for the first time since the grand jury report was released.
Forty-eight minutes before Paterno’s weekly news conference was scheduled to begin, Jeff Nelson, Penn State’s assistant athletic director for communications, read a statement in front of roughly 150 reporters outside an entrance to Beaver Stadium.
“Due to the ongoing legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today’s press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled,” Nelson said.
Then he tried to walk away, but the media horde followed, allowing him only to inch down the sidewalk as a 1957 matador red Chevy Bel Air drove by with a cardboard cutout of Paterno in the backseat.