HARRISBURG, Pa. — Joe Paterno's widow said Wednesday that she and her husband were ignorant about sexual predators like Jerry Sandusky and did not realize that the former Penn State assistant football coach was abusing the boys he met through a children's charity that he founded.
"We have been unaware of how a predator behaves," Sue Paterno said at a program celebrating Child Abuse Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. "In many cases, we unknowingly helped him 'groom' his victims while we thought we were helping a child achieve self-esteem and find a better life."
Sue Paterno said she was horrified when she learned the truth about Sandusky.
Her husband, a College Football Hall of Fame coach who led Penn State's Nittany Lions for 46 years, died in January 2012 at 85.
"The last 17 months have been filled with disbelief, horror, the pain of loss, sleepless nights, praying for the victims and for peace of mind for those who unwittingly were too naive to recognize the signs of abuse," she said.
Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after being convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of years.