STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — An explosive sex abuse scandal and allegations of a cover-up rocked Happy Valley after former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, once considered Joe Paterno’s heir apparent, was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over 15 years.
Among the allegations was that a graduate assistant saw Sandusky assault a boy in the shower at the team’s practice center in 2002.
Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids, where authorities say he encountered the boys. The case took on added dimension Saturday when perjury charges were announced against Tim Curley, Penn State’s athletic director, and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business. They were also accused of failing to alert police and other agencies — as required by state law — of their investigation of the allegations.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” state Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday in a statement.
Paterno, who last week 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.
“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.”
Under Paterno’s four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game, and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America’s best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Paterno’s teams were revered both for winning games — including two national championships — and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky, whose defenses were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers — hence the moniker “Linebacker U” — spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.
Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, were expected to turn themselves in Monday in Harrisburg.
The school said Sunday that it would bar Sandusky from campus.
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.
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