- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - Penn State trustees fired football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier (SPAN-yer) amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.

The massive shakeup Wednesday night came hours after Paterno announced that he planned to retire at the end of his 46th season.

But the outcry following the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on molestation charges proved too much for the board to ignore.

One key question has been why Paterno and other top school officials didn’t go to police in 2002 after being told a graduate assistant saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a school shower.

Paterno says he should have done more. Spanier has said he was not told the details of the attack.

Sandusky has denied the charges.

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

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ With tears and regret, Joe Paterno said he would retire as Penn State’s football coach at the end of the season, his model program of “Success With Honor” disgraced by a child sex abuse scandal.

Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football, said he wanted to finish his 46th season with “dignity and determination,” though the university’s board of trustees still could force the 84-year-old coach to leave sooner.

It also could take action against the school president, Graham Spanier.

In Washington, the U.S. Department of Education said Wednesday it has launched an investigation into whether Penn State failed to report incidents of sexual abuse on campus, as required by federal law.

Paterno said in a statement he was “absolutely devastated” by the case, in which his former assistant and onetime heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years, with some of the alleged abuse taking place at the Penn State football complex.

“This is a tragedy,” Paterno said. “It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

Paterno has come under harsh criticism _ including from within the community known as Happy Valley _ for not taking more action in 2002 after then-graduate assistant and current assistant coach Mike McQueary came to him and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a 10-year-old boy. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz.

Paterno is not a target of the criminal investigation, although Curley and Schultz have been charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities.

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