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Official: Paterno, Penn State skirted ‘moral responsibility’

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials didn't do enough to try to stop suspected sexual abuse of children at the hands of a former assistant football coach, the state police commissioner said Monday.

Paterno may have fulfilled his legal requirement to report suspected abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said, "but somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child."

He added: "I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."

Sandusky operated a series of youth sports camps at a satellite campus for six years after he was prohibited from taking youths onto the school's main campus by the athletics director and the senior vice president, who now are facing criminal charges.

The ban was imposed in 2002, the year a graduate student claimed to see him assault a child in a locker room shower. But Sandusky held summer football camps through his Sandusky Associates company at the satellite campus just outside Erie from 2000 to 2008, Penn State Behrend spokesman Bill Gonda said.

"We provided the facilities for it," Gonda said Monday. "There were no allegations, no complaints during his tenure here."

Paterno, who recently became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, wasn't charged and the grand jury report didn't appear to implicate him in wrongdoing. He has called the criminal charges shocking and 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," he said in a statement Sunday.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno is not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations. But she refused to say the same for university President Graham Spanier.

Noonan said the case went beyond football and the university.

"It is a case about children who have had their innocence stolen from them, in a culture that did nothing to stop it or prevent it from happening to others," he said.

Two Penn State officials surrendered Monday on charges that they failed to alert police to complaints that Sandusky had sexually abused eight boys. They are also charged with lying to a state grand jury investigating the former defensive coordinator.

Senior vice president Gary Schultz, 62, and athletic director Tim Curley, 57, stepped down from their posts late Sunday.

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