With Penn State fans reeling, 2 university officials have stepped down and were arraigned today in a Harrisburg, Pa., district court on charges of lying to a grand jury that was investigating child-abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky (seen above on left) and failing to report alleged abuse.
Longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno told the school’s athletic director about an alleged incident involving Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy in 2002, but did not go to the police. “For him to take such a non-aggressive approach, and for him to allow Sandusky to remain part of the program, is troubling,” said one legal expert. “But the bigger problem is the number of people who knew about it and covered it up.”
Sandusky has been indicted on charges of sexually abusing children dating back to 1994, when he was still a member of the Penn State staff. A graduate student told Paterno back in 2002 that he had witnessed an alleged sexual encounter between Sandusky and a young boy in the showers of the Lasch football building.
Sandusky started the Second Mile Foundation in 1977 outside State College as a facility for six troubled boys. It has since expanded to a statewide organization that serves over 100,000 children with a multimilliondollar budget.
Sandusky, who is married, usually met his victims, the grand jury report said, in their second year at Second Mile camps on the Penn State campus, when they were 7 to 12 years old. He gave them lavish gifts, took them to Eagles games, Penn State practices and home games. They often stayed overnight at the Sandusky home, sleeping in the basement. Sandusky would then initiate sexual encounters with the boys in a basement bedroom, Penn State locker room showers and other athletic facilities, according to the grand jury report.
Sandusky was given full access to university facilities in his 1999 retirement agreement, even though the grand jury report noted a 1998 investigation into an alleged encounter between Sandusky and a boy in a shower in the football facility. The incident was reviewed with the knowledge of then-university lawyer Wendell Courtney, who remains counsel for Second Mile. Sandusky admitted to an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare that he had showered with the boy. The university police detective advised Sandusky not to take showers with the child again and Sandusky promised he would not. No charges were filed.
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