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Paterno said Penn State mishandled response to abuse allegation, witness says

Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary steps out of a car in front of the Dauphin County Courthouse on Monday in Harrisburg, Pa. 

Associated Press

Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary steps out of a car in front of the Dauphin County Courthouse on Monday in Harrisburg, Pa. 

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Longtime Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said the university mishandled its response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, a former assistant coach testified Monday during a hearing for three top school officials accused of a cover-up.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, retired university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley are accused of failing to tell police about a sexual abuse allegation involving Sandusky and then trying to cover up what they knew. The men say they are innocent.

Star witness Mike McQueary appeared in a courtroom for the third time since Sandusky's arrest in November 2011 and told the court that top officials knew that he had seen Sandusky molesting a boy in a locker room shower.

But the former Penn State assistant coach and quarterback also delivered some unexpected testimony: He said Paterno had told him over the years that university administrators mishandled the response to McQueary's allegation against Sandusky.

McQueary recalled the head coach saying the school would come down hard on McQueary and try to make him a scapegoat. Paterno also advised McQueary not to trust the administration or then-university counsel Cynthia Baldwin, McQueary testified.

Paterno died in January 2012. He had never been charged.

The judge must determine whether there's enough evidence against the former officials to send the case to trial. They face charges including perjury, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children.

The hearing adjourned after about five hours of testimony and is scheduled to resume today.

Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after being convicted last year of sexually abusing 10 boys.

Paterno said Penn State mishandled response to abuse allegation, witness says 07/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 11:05pm]
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