Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested yesterday on 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys between 1994 and 2009.The terrifying details of the charges were made public when the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office released a 23-page grand jury report (PDF) last night.
The report depicts a man who used a charity program for troubled children called The Second Mile to gain access to vulnerable kids. He befriended the kids — bringing them to Penn State bowl games, giving them gifts, letting them eat meals with coaches, and having them stay overnight at his house before Nittany Lions home games.
He then allegedly made them his victims.
The grand jury report alleges that Sandusky sexually abused eight boys who were between the ages of eight and fourteen at the time of the incidents.
The alleged crimes include multiple instances of fondling and oral sex, as well as one instance of anal sex in a shower at Penn State’s football facility in 2002.
This 2002 incident is the most damning part of the scandal — the part that could potentially see Joe Paterno and the football program go down in flames.
In March of 2002 a graduate assistant witnessed Sandusky subjecting a boy to anal sex in the shower at Penn State’s football facility.
The assistant was distraught. He first contacted his father to ask what to do, and he told head coach Joe Paterno the next day.
Paterno reported the incident to the athletic director Tim Curley immediately, who met with the graduate assistant a week later.
Long story short, nobody reported the alleged crime to the police, and now Curley and another PSU administrator named Garry Schultz are being charged with perjury and a failure to report suspected child abuse.
Curley and Schultz deny that what the graduate assistant told them constituted a sex crime, telling the grand jury that the incident was described to them as something like “horsing around in the shower” and not out-and-out rape.
Sandusky was punished by being told he couldn’t bring children on campus anymore, but Curley admitted to the grand jury that that was “unenforceable.”
This punishment wasn’t enforced. One of Sandusky’s victims told the grand jury that he was brought to a Penn State practice in 2007 — five years after Penn State was made aware of Sandusky allegedly raping a child at PSU’s football facility.
He could face life in prison if convicted.
Paterno will not be charged with a crime, and will actually testify against Sandusky at trial, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Sandusky had been a coach at Penn State since the 1970s. He was the defensive coordinator until he retired in 1999. He had access to the PSU football facilities as part of his retirement package, and looks to have remained close to the program in the last decade.
In the coming weeks and months, it will become much clearer what Penn State and Paterno knew about Sandusky, and the extent to which they were willingly ignorant of his sickening system of abusing kids.
But based on the initial reports, this is bad. Really bad.
And if it turns out that JoePa knew anything more about Sandusky’s crimes outside of the alleged 2002 incident, his long and illustrious career could end in utter disgrace.
UPDATE 5:50 p.m.:
Joe Paterno has released a statement denying that he was neglectful during the 2002 incident.
He says he was told about the shower abuse, but never about the “specific actions.”
So basically, he says that the grad assistant never told him the damning details.
Here’s the whole statement (via PennLive.com):
“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
“Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. 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. They are in our prayers.
“As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
“I understand that people are upset and angry, but let’s be fair and let the legal process unfold. 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.”
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