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Child sex abuse charges rock Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — An explosive sex abuse scandal and possible coverup rocked "Happy Valley" on Saturday when former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, once considered Joe Paterno's heir apparent, was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Among the allegations was a 2002 incident in which a graduate assistant for the team said he saw Sandusky assault a boy in the shower at the Nittany Lions' practice center.

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.

The state grand jury investigation also resulted in perjury charges against Tim Curley, Penn State's athletic director, and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business. The two were accused of failing to alert police — as required by state law — of their investigation of the allegations.

Paterno, 84, the winningest coach in Division I football, was not charged, and the grand jury report did not appear to implicate him in wrongdoing. He will be a prosecution witness against Sandusky, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said.

Under Paterno's 46 seasons, 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." His teams were revered for winning and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period between 1994 and 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 on Monday.

The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual 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's evidence even younger children might've been victimized. Defense attorney Joe Amendola said Sandusky has been aware of the accusations for years and maintains his innocence.

"He's shaky, as you can expect," Amendola told WJAC-TV after Sandusky was arraigned. "Being 67 years old, never having faced criminal charges in his life, and having the distinguished career that he's had, these are very serious allegations."

One accuser, now 27, testified that he traveled to Penn State games with Sandusky, even being listed as a member of the Sandusky family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl in Tampa.

Lawyers for Curley and Schultz issued statements saying their clients are innocent of all charges.

Penn State president Graham Spanier called the allegations against Sandusky "troubling" but added that Curley and Schultz had his unconditional support.

He predicted they will be exonerated.

Child sex abuse charges rock Penn State 11/05/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 6, 2011 1:30am]
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