Ex-Penn State Coach Won't Speak on Child Sex Abuse Charges

Shock of the abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky is setting in on campus.

November 06, 2011, 12:18 PM

Nov. 6, 2011— -- Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky refused to answer questions today about charges he molested eight boys over a 15-year period, telling ABC News his lawyers told him not to discuss the allegations.

"The situation is in the courts and I'm not to make any comments," Sandusky said outside his home in State College, Pa.

When ABC News asked again if he wanted to say that the charges against him were false, Sandusky again only said he could not say anything.

"Unfortunately, unfortunately, I'm not in the position to make any statements," he said.

Sandusky, who is a Penn State gridiron legend having been a player and a long-time assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, will now be barred from campus, the university announced today.

The Penn State athletic director and vice president are charged with allegedly covering up the abuse, but the school said today it would foot the legal bill for them.

"The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly," Penn State president Graham Spanier said in a statement issued Saturday. "Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance."

Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz are both being charged with perjury for allegedly not alerting police when they learned that Sandusky had allegedly sexually abused a young boy in a locker room shower in 2002.

Spanier said Curley and Schultz have his "unconditional support."

But state prosecutors say the university failed to follow up on the allegations or to notify police.

"There is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack first-hand," Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said.

Sandusky, 67, who retired in 1999, continued to use the team's practice facilities to work with underprivileged boys through a foundation he started called Second Mile.

The retired coach would use expensive gifts and trips to maintain contact with his victims, who were as young as 10 years old when the alleged abuse began, according to the investigation.

"This is absolutely a stunner in the world of sports. If you were to say give me squeaky clean in college football, one of the answers that you might say first is Penn State," said Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist.

Sandusky allegedly even used his volunteer coaching job at a Pennsylvania high school, from which he was barred in 2009, to continue preying on a victim he had been abusing for years, the grand jury report said.

He would call the boy out of class for unsupervised meetings during the day, according to school officials. A wrestling coach also testified to the grand jury that he encountered the victim and Sandusky lying face to face in a secluded weight room one evening.

The boy's mother reported her suspicions to the school and police were alerted. Thus began a two-year investigation that led to Sandusky's arrest Saturday on 40 counts that even if found guilty on one, could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

If the charges against the Penn State officials are proven to be true, the university's lack of action would be a shocking contrast to the high school's quick response.

"What happens is self-preservation sets in and when people have this type of information, they just deny it's actually occurring because they're concerned about it affecting their career," former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett said.

Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, is also facing intense scrutiny. Although he is not being charged, Paterno was the one the graduate student first notified in 2002. He allegedly relayed the incident to Curley.

"Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury," state attorney general's office spokesman Nils Frederiksen told The Associated Press. "He's not a suspect."

He said it was far too soon to say whether Paterno might testify if the case goes to trial.

"That's putting the cart way ahead of the horse," he said. "We're certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses."

Attorneys for all three men said their clients were not guilty.

Curley and Schultz are scheduled to surrender on Nov. 7.

Sandusky is free on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on Nov. 9.

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