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Police official says Penn State coach Joe Paterno should have done more about allegations

According to a grand jury report, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, above, was seen forcing himself on a boy of about 10 in the locker room showers on March 1, 2002. It’s unclear how many details Joe Paterno knew about it.

Associated Press (1999)

According to a grand jury report, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, above, was seen forcing himself on a boy of about 10 in the locker room showers on March 1, 2002. It’s unclear how many details Joe Paterno knew about it.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Time and again, questions about an alleged cover-up of a sex abuse scandal at Penn State circled back to one name: Joe Paterno.

Major college football's oldest, winningest and perhaps most revered coach was engulfed Monday in a growing furor involving former defensive coordinator and one-time heir apparent Jerry Sandusky, who was indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.

State police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had said he saw Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team's locker room shower in 2002. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.

On the Happy Valley campus and in the surrounding town of State College, some were asking whether the 84-year-old coach should step down after 46 seasons on the sideline.

Penn State senior vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley surrendered on charges that they failed to alert police to the complaint about Sandusky.

Schultz and Curley are also charged with lying to the state grand jury that indicted Sandusky. Both stepped down Sunday, Curley taking a temporary leave and Schultz retiring. They appeared Monday in a Harrisburg courtroom, where a judge set bail at $75,000. They weren't required to enter pleas.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno is not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations. But she refused to say the same for university president Graham Spanier.

Noonan said that though Paterno may have met his legal requirement to report suspected abuse by Sandusky, "somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child."

He added: "I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."

At a news conference, Noonan and Kelly were asked if Paterno was given details about what graduate assistant Mike McQueary — now the team's wide receivers coach — saw on the night of March 1, 2002.

The grand jury report said McQueary was in the locker room to put away some new sneakers when he heard "rhythmic, slapping sounds" and looked into the showers.

He reportedly saw a naked boy, about 10, with his hands against the wall as Sandusky subjected him to anal sex. McQueary left immediately and contacted his father before calling Paterno the next morning then meeting at Paterno's home.

Exactly what was said during that meeting is unclear from the grand jury record, which states that Paterno called Curley the next day to tell him McQueary had seen Sandusky "in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

Paterno has not spoken publicly about the matter. His weekly news conference is today, but the school said he will not answer questions about the scandal.

The indictment also cited a 1998 incident in which an 11-year-old boy's mother called university police to complain after learning that her son had showered with Sandusky. A state Department of Public Welfare investigator told the grand jury that Sandusky said he showered naked with the youth and hugged him, "admitted that it was wrong," and promised not to shower with any child again.

Kelly declined to say if other victims have come forward since the scandal was publicized. She said she believes there could be more victims.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for a Penn State satellite campus said Sandusky ran camps there for six years after being banned from taking children onto the main campus. Bill Gonda said there weren't any allegations or complaints at the Penn State Behrend campus outside Erie.

Police official says Penn State coach Joe Paterno should have done more about allegations 11/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 9:15am]
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