by Mark Viera (New York Times)
November 5, 2011
A former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team was arrested Saturday on charges of sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period. Jerry Sandusky, 67, who had worked with needy children through his Second Mile foundation, was arraigned and released on $100,000 bail after being charged with 40 counts related to sexual abuse of young boys.Two top university officials — Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, and Tim Curley, the athletic director — were charged Saturday with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations, as required by state law.
"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," the Pennsylvania attorney general, Linda Kelly, said in a statement.
Mr. Sandusky was an assistant defensive coach to Joe Paterno, the coach with the most career victories in major college football, who helped propel Penn State to the top tiers of the sport. Until now, the Big Ten university had one of the most sterling images in college athletics, largely thanks to Mr. Paterno and his success in 46 seasons as head coach.
A grand jury said that when Mr. Paterno learned of one allegation of abuse in 2002, he immediately reported it to Mr. Curley. The grand jury did not implicate Mr. Paterno in any wrongdoing, though it was unclear if he ever followed up on his initial conversation with Mr. Curley or tried to alert the authorities himself.
Mr. Sandusky's lawyer said his client had disputed the allegations that prompted a three-year investigation by the attorney general's office.
"He has denied the allegations from the outset," Joseph Amendola, Mr. Sandusky's lawyer, said in a telephone interview Saturday. "We know the allegations were out there, but we didn't know what the allegations were. Jerry has mentioned his innocence, and once we are able to go through this, we'll have more specific responses."
Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz, the grand jury found, provided false testimony in discussing their response to the 2002 incident. It further found that Mr. Curley committed perjury in repeatedly denying that he had been told that Mr. Sandusky had engaged in sexual misconduct with a child.
The university president, Graham B. Spanier, who the grand jury said had been made aware of the 2002 incident, said in a statement that he stood behind the two officials.
"I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years," Mr. Spanier said. "I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former university employee."
The grand jury's report stated that the eight boys were singled out for sexual advances or sexual assaults by Mr. Sandusky between 1994 and 2009. All of the accusers first encountered him through activities related to the Second Mile, a foundation for needy children that he founded in 1977. He retired from daily involvement with the Second Mile last fall.
"Through the Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations," the report said.
According to the grand jury, the assaults occurred in a variety of locations — Penn State football facilities, Mr. Sandusky's home, a high school, a golf resort near the university's State College campus — and none of the boys were thought to be older than 13 when they first met Mr. Sandusky. The report also detailed the boys' access to the Penn State football team; Mr. Sandusky retained access to many athletic facilities even after his retirement in 1999 and had an office in the Lasch Football Building.
Mr. Sandusky brought one boy to San Antonio for the 1999 Alamo Bowl, according to the report, but threatened to send him home when the boy resisted his sexual advances. He reportedly guaranteed that boy that he could walk on to Penn State's football team, and the boy was shown in a photograph with him that appeared in Sports Illustrated.
Another boy attended as many as 15 football games as Mr. Sandusky's guest; Mr. Sandusky brought him into a shower on campus and made the boy touch his genitals, the grand jury said. He placed his hands down the pants of another boy who spent the night at Sandusky's house before home games, the grand jury said.A graduate assistant for the team told the grand jury he alerted Mr. Paterno in 2002 that he had seen Mr. Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the shower at the Lasch Football Building on the Penn State campus. The graduate student told the grand jury he went to Mr. Paterno's home the next day and described what he had seen. Mr. Paterno, in turn, told Mr. Curley.
About a week and a half later, Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz met with the graduate assistant, then told Mr. Sandusky that he could not bring any children from the Second Mile onto campus, a ban the grand jury said Mr. Curley acknowledged was "unenforceable." The university officials did not alert law enforcement, Ms. Kelly said.
Mr. Schultz testified to the grand jury that there was a similar incident involving a young boy in the football shower with Mr. Sandusky in 1998. The mother of that boy confronted Mr. Sandusky at her home, with two police detectives listening to the conversation. He told the woman, according to testimony by one of the detectives: "I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."
Mr. Schultz, whose position includes oversight of the university police, testified that he did not know that the university police produced a lengthy report about the 1998 incident. The grand jury found the assertions by him that the 2002 allegations were "not that serious" and that he and Mr. Curley "had no indication that a crime had occurred" contradictory to other testimony.
Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz were each charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, in addition to failure to report. Lawyers for the two men released statements proclaiming their clients' innocence.
Jimmy Kennedy, a defensive tackle for the Giants who played at Penn State from 1999 to 2002, said he was shocked and baffled by the allegations against Sandusky. Kennedy, who said Sandusky helped recruit him to Penn State, did an internship at Second Mile during his senior season.
"I never had any type of idea or suspicions about anything like that," Kennedy said. "All the kids loved him."
The grand jury report concluded with an incident that it said occurred in 2000, during a week when the Nittany Lions were away from campus for a game. Late at night, a janitor cleaning the football building said he observed Mr. Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a shower. Another worker that night found the shaken janitor, who said, "I just witnessed something in there I'll never forget."