You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Pa. official: Paterno not target of investigation

- Associated Press - Monday, November 7, 2011

HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - Pennsylvania's attorney general says Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is not a target of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by one of his former assistants and how the school handled the accusations.

Linda Kelly spoke Monday, two days after child sexual abuse charges were filed against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The news conference came about an hour before two Penn State administrators were to be arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report abuse.

Authorities accused Sandusky of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years through his charity for at-risk youth

Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley are accused of failing to alert police to complaints that Sandusky was sexually abusing boys.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Investigators on Monday encouraged anyone who was sexually assaulted by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to step forward and talk to police.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly specifically asked that a child reportedly assaulted by Sandusky in view of a graduate student to call detectives about the 2002 encounter.

Kelly spoke at a news conference Monday, two days after child sexual abuse charges were filed against Sandusky and about an hour before two high-ranking Penn State administrators were to face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury and failed to properly report suspected child abuse by the ex-football coach.

Late Sunday, after an emergency meeting of the board of trustees, university President Graham Spanier announced that Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the school's senior vice president for business and finance, would be leaving their posts.

Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote time to his defense, and Schultz will be going back into retirement, Spanier said. Both men have maintained they are innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the probe into whether Sandusky sexually abused eight boys _ preteens and young teenagers _ over a 15-year period.

State Attorney General Linda Kelly and state police Commissioner Frank Noonan were expected to hold a 1 p.m. Monday news conference about the case a few miles from the Harrisburg court where Curley and Schultz will be arraigned. The proceeding is scheduled for immediately after that.

Sandusky was arrested Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. The charity said in a statement Sunday that Sandusky has had no involvement with its programs involving children since 2008, when Sandusky told the foundation that he was being investigated on child-sex allegations.

The case has rocked State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America's best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Under head football coach Joe Paterno _ who testified before the grand jury and isn't considered a suspect _ the teams were revered both for winning games, including two national championships, and largely steering clear of trouble.

In a statement issued Sunday, Paterno called the charges 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."

Sandusky spent three decades at the school running the defense. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.

Sandusky, who is married and has six adopted children with his wife, Dottie, retired in 1999 but continued to use the school's facilities. University officials said Sunday they were moving to ban him from campus in the wake of the charges.

Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, told The Associated Press on Sunday that it was premature to discuss whether Paterno might testify at trial.

"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."

The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual advances to touching to oral and anal sex. The young men testified before a state grand jury that they were in their early teens when some of the abuse occurred; there is evidence even younger children may have been victimized.

Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence.

"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."

Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, as well as single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.

One accuser, now 27, testified that Sandusky initiated contact with a "soap battle" in the shower that led to multiple instances of involuntary sexual intercourse and indecent assault at Sandusky's hands, the grand jury report said.

He said he traveled to charity functions and Penn State games with Sandusky. But when the boy resisted his advances, Sandusky threatened to send him home from the 1999 Alamo Bowl, the report said.

Sandusky also gave him clothes, shoes, a snowboard, golf clubs, hockey gear and football jerseys, and even guaranteed that he could walk on to the football team, the grand jury said. He testified that Sandusky once gave him $50 to buy marijuana, drove him to purchase it and then drove him home as the boy smoked the drug.

The first case to come to light was a boy who met Sandusky when he was 11 or 12, and physical contact began during his overnight stays at Sandusky's house, the grand jury said. Eventually, the boy's mother reported the sexual assault allegations to his high school, and Sandusky was banned from the child's school district in Clinton County. That triggered the state investigation that culminated in charges Saturday.

But the report also alleges much earlier instances of abuse and details failed efforts to stop it by some who became aware of what was happening.

Another child, known only as a boy about 11 to 13, was seen by a janitor pinned against a wall while Sandusky performed oral sex on him in fall 2000, the grand jury said.

And in 2002, Kelly said, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy, estimated to be about 10 years old, in a team locker room shower. The grad student and his father reported what he saw to Paterno, who immediately told Curley, prosecutors said.

The two school administrators fielded the complaint from the graduate assistant and from Paterno. Two people familiar with the investigation confirmed the identity of the graduate assistant as Mike McQueary, now the team's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. The two spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the names in the grand jury report haven't been publicly released.

McQueary's father, John, said his son was out of town on a recruiting trip Sunday, and he declined to comment about the case or say whether they were the two named in the grand jury report.

"I know it's online, and I know it's available," John McQueary told the AP. "I have gone out of my way not to read it for a number of reasons."

Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half after the attack was reported, Kelly said.

"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said.

There's no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said.

Schultz's lawyer, Thomas J. 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 grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state's Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.

Neither Schultz nor Curley appear to have had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing.

The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that's Penn State, it's not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child."

Messages left later Sunday seeking comment from Frederiksen with the attorney general's office, and from Curley's lawyer, Caroline Roberto, weren't immediately returned. Farrell said it was accurate to say the allegations against Curley are legally flawed in the same manner.

Farrell said he plans to seek dismissal at the earliest opportunity. "Now, tomorrow is probably not the appropriate time," Farrell said Sunday. "We'll bring every legal challenge that is appropriate, and I think quite a few are appropriate."

As a summary offense, failure to report suspected child abuse carries up to three months in jail and a $200 fine.

"As far as my research shows, there has never been a reported criminal decision under this statute, and the civil decisions go our way," he said.

Curley and Schultz also are accused of perjury for their testimony to the grand jury that issued a 23-page report on the matter Friday, the day before state prosecutors charged them. Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with 40 criminal counts.

Curley denied that the assistant had reported anything of a sexual nature, calling it "merely `horsing around,'" the grand jury report said. But he also testified that he barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised Spanier, the school president, of the matter.

The grand jury said Curley was lying, Kelly said, adding that it also deemed portions of Schultz's testimony not to be credible.

Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used.

But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002," the jurors wrote. "No one from the university did so."

Farrell said Schultz "should have been required only to report it to his supervisor, which he did."

Schultz reports to Spanier, who testified before the grand jury that Schultz and Curley came to him with a report that a staff member was uncomfortable because he'd seen Sandusky "horsing around" with a boy. Spanier wasn't charged.

About the perjury charge, Farrell said: "We're going to have a lot of issues with that, both factual and legal. I think there's a very strong defense here."

The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

___

Genaro C. Armas in State College, Pa., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.