- Associated Press - Sunday, November 6, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - The Penn State board met in executive session Sunday following the weekend announcement that criminal charges were filed against former retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, accusing him of sexually abusing young boys.

Two top university officials _ Gary C. Schultz, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business, and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley _ also were charged in the case, announced Saturday.

About half the board members were present late Sunday night while others joined in by phone.

Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. Schultz and Curley were both charged with failing to report to state and county officials that a witness told them he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a naked boy in the showers of a team practice facility. They also face a perjury charge.

Lawyers for all three men said they are innocent.

Earlier Sunday, Pittsburgh lawyer Thomas J. Farrell, an attorney for Schultz, said the Pennsylvania law requiring some school officials and others to report suspected child abuse does not apply to a Penn State administrator.

Farrell said he will seek to have the charge dismissed.

Farrell told The Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004.

The explosive charges are surprising both for what they detail and their contrast to the image of Penn State’s football program. Under the leadership of Joe Paterno, who’s won more games than any coach in Division I history, the Nittany Lions have become a bedrock in the college game. For more than four decades, Paterno’s teams have been revered both for winning, including two national championships, and largely steering clear of trouble.

Paterno is not implicated in the case.

Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury,” said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office. “He’s not a suspect.”

Frederiksen called questions about whether Paterno might testify premature and speculation.

“That’s putting the cart way ahead of the horse,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses.”

In a statement on Sunday, Paterno said that, if true, the charges were “shocking.”

“The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling,” he 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.”

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