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 Penn State abuse scandal chilling in details, reach

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Magdalene



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Join date : 2010-10-19

PostSubject: Penn State abuse scandal chilling in details, reach   Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:22 pm

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Not far — but seemingly an eternity removed — from the bucolic patch of central Pennsylvania known as Happy Valley, Penn State's athletics director and one of the university's senior executives are to report to a Harrisburg judge today to answer to charges that they lied in the investigation of a series of sexual assaults on young boys.
Accused as the predator: Jerry Sandusky, one of college football's most visible and well-respected assistant coaches before his retirement 12 years ago, a defensive maestro who helped turn the school into Linebacker U. and once was the presumed heir apparent to Nittany Lions icon Joe Paterno.

Even in the sullied world of major-college athletics, the weekend news was stunning.

MORE: Second Mile office critical in Jerry Sandusky case
STORY: shocking

The past year and half have seen Cam Newton's father found to have shopped his eventual Heisman Trophy-winning son for profit, one of football's most successful coaches fired from Ohio State for his dishonesty with NCAA investigators, an imprisoned booster raining down claims of illicit benefits at Miami (Fla.) and multiple cases of agent and academic malfeasance. Little less unseemly are the threats, suits and countersuits accompanying conference realignment.

Now, the colleges have found an even darker corner — at Penn State of all places, an institution untouched by NCAA sanctions and, before this, scarcely a hint of any form of scandal.

Sandusky's alleged actions, and charges that Penn State athletics director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz perjured themselves before a grand jury, might represent the most damaging hit to college sports since Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson killed teammate Patrick Dennehy in 2003. Then-coach Dave Bliss attempted a cover-up, urging players and assistants to depict the victim as a drug dealer.

In a statement Sunday, Paterno called the charges against Sandusky shocking.

"If this is true, we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families," he said. "They are in our prayers."

The 12th-ranked Nittany Lions didn't play Saturday, and in the place of familiar game images were shots of Sandusky, 67, being escorted to and from his arraignment by two lawmen, his eyes down and hands cuffed.

Shocking allegations

Authorities handed down 40 counts, 21 of them felonies, that he abused eight boys over a 15-year period starting in 1994. A two-year grand jury investigation found that Sandusky encountered each of the victims through The Second Mile, the youth services foundation he established in 1977 and remained associated with until a little more than a year ago.

Punishment for each of the felonies ranges from seven to 20 years in prison and $15,000-$25,000 in fines. For the 19 misdemeanors, it's 2-5 years' imprisonment and $5,000-$10,000 in fines.

"There were whispers about it," said Alex Ricker, a former Penn State student and current football season ticketholder who has worked several Second Mile camps in State College and Reading, Pa. "But when it came out, I don't think anybody expected that big of a hit or that serious of an indictment, as well as that many charges. It was sad.

"He was a very public figure that a lot of people viewed as a very strong charitable figure, and his organization did a lot of good. It could impact the university, and unfortunately it will probably impact The Second Mile. It's hard to say if it will have an impact on how much longer Coach Paterno stays."

Paterno, who a week earlier collected the 409th victory of his 46-year Hall of Fame tenure, breaking the NCAA Division I record, has not been implicated in the scandal. The 23-page grand jury report, in fact, credits him with going to Curley with one of the most serious charges against Sandusky — brought by a graduate assistant coach who told Paterno he'd seen the older assistant sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old in the shower in Penn State's Lasch Football Building. That was in March 2002.

The former grad assistant told the grand jury that he'd caught Sandusky subjecting the boy to anal intercourse and said he reported what he'd seen to Paterno during a meeting at Paterno's home the next day. Paterno then met with Curley and, according to the grand jury summary, told the AD that the assistant had seen Sandusky "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

The assistant later met with Curley and Schultz, saying he'd witnessed what he believed to be anal sex.

In his statement Sunday, Paterno said the assistant "was distraught … but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the grand jury report."

There still are questions about why Paterno went no further with the report when Curley and Schultz didn't take action beyond reporting the incident to The Second Mile and barring Sandusky from bringing children in the Second Mile program into the football building. Schultz's duties include oversight of university police. Neither administrator notified law enforcement or child protection officers as required by law.

Paterno, 84, also can't escape the fact that 20 of the charges against Sandusky date to the period from 1995 to 1998, when Sandusky was Paterno's defensive coordinator. He retired at the end of the 1999 season.

"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold," Paterno said in his statement. "In the meantime, I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are."

The Harrisburg Patriot-News, citing people with knowledge of the investigation, has identified the former grad assistant who witnessed the shower incident 9½ years ago as Mike McQueary, now Penn State's receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. He was unavailable Sunday. His father was reached at his State College home but was reluctant to talk.

"There's going to be a lot of stuff that comes out," said John McQueary, wearing a gray Penn State sweatshirt while cleaning his garage, "and until then I really don't want to say much."

Pointing to Saturday's[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] game against Nebraska, he said, "Nobody cares as much about the game now because of this and because Nebraska lost (to Northwestern). It's completely different."

Support from Spanier

Implications in the case stretch well beyond football.

Both Curley, a former grad assistant and recruiting coordinator for Paterno who has run Penn State's athletics department since 1993, and Schultz face one felony count of perjury related to their testimony to the grand jury in January and a misdemeanor charge of failure to report abuse. They're scheduled to turn themselves in this afternoon in Harrisburg.

Penn State President Graham Spanier called the allegations against Sandusky troubling but expressed "unconditional support" for Curley and Schultz and said in a statement, "I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately."

Spanier's fortunes could be tied to theirs. Authorities say he "reviewed and approved" their handling of the shower episode; he denied to t[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]he grand jury that it was depicted to him as sexual in nature.

Sandusky, who spent 32 years at Paterno's side, 23 as defensive coordinator, was released Saturday on $100,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing in his case is scheduled for Wednesday, though his attorney, Joe Amendola, told Johnstown, Pa.-based television station WJAC it probably would be delayed.

Penn State on Sunday barred Sandusky from its campus.

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

Sandusky was a three-year starter at defensive end (1963-65) for Penn State. He graduated in 1966 — first in his class — with a degree in health and physical education and earned a master's degree there five years later. He and his wife, Dottie, have six children, all adopted.

One son, Jon, is the directo[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]r of player personnel with the NFL's Cleveland Browns. Another, E.J., is the running back coach at Division III West Chester (Pa.).

A native of Washington, Pa., Sandusky was once was so popular among Penn State fans that an ice cream flavor was named for him at State College's landmark Berkey Creamery. Though "Sandusky Blitz" hasn't been offered for some two years, assistant manager James Brown said, its namesake was a topic of discussion among customers over the weekend.

"The Creamery has nothing to do with the person and the allegations," Brown said. "There's no attachment."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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