Penn State Scandal: Joe Paterno Will Speak Tuesday

Paterno "not a target" of ongoing investigation into sex crimes at Penn State.

November 7, 2011, 3:15 AM

Nov. 7, 2011— -- Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno will speak at his regular weekly press conference Tuesday, his first public appearance since the arrest of his longtime assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, on child sex abuse charges.

Paterno was named in the indictment that brought charges against Sandusky and two university officials for what police allege was a cover-up of at least one instance of Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy on campus in 2002.

Sandusky is charged with molesting at least eight boys over 15 years, at least three of whom were brought to the attention of employees at Penn State who failed to report the incidents to police.

Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President of Finance Gary Shultz were both charged with failing to report the abuse and lying to a grand jury when asked about what they knew.

Paterno, who was first told about the 2002 incident, did not report the incident to police but did tell his supervisor, Curley. Paterno has not been charged with any crime, thought prosecutors stressed to ABC News today that the investigation is ongoing.

"As top administrators and senior officials at the university, Curley and Schultz had an obligation to report," said a spokesman for the attorney general's office. "We feel confident that given the circumstances of this case, the law applies to them."

Paterno has said that his actions are in accordance with the law.

When asked about Paterno, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said, "He is not regarded as a target at this point."

Still, authorities condemned Penn State University today for what they called a widespread culture of failing to report the abuse by Sandusky.

"This is not a case about football. This is not a case about universities. This is a case about children that have had their innocence stolen and a culture that did nothing to stop it or prevent it from happening to others," said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.

Police are still trying to determine the identity of the boy from the 2002 incident.

"There aren't many heros involved" in the case, Noonan said.

A local high school finally notified police in 2009 after Sandusky volunteered there, allegedly in order to keep abusing one of his victims and the victim's mother discovered what was happening and reported it.

But the commissioner said there had been three instances in which Penn State officials allegedly witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy and failed to act to prevent it from recurring.

"I don't think I've ever seen something like this before," Noonan said.

School President Graham Spanier also has not been charged. It is unclear whether Spanier knew the full extent of the allegations.

The allegations against Sandusky include eight named victims who have testified that Sandusky befriended them through the charitable organization he founded, The Second Mile, a group home and outreach program for troubled boys. Sandusky allegedly tried to mentor the boys, plied them with gifts, trips to sporting events, and access to the Penn State football facilities, and then sexually assaulted them.

Sandusky had coached at Penn State for 23 years, and served as the defensive coordinator before retiring in 1999. After his retirement, Sandusky continued to have full access to the school's grounds and an office in the football department, where he brought children from The Second Mile, according to the indictment.

Sandusky was known for his love of children before the incident. He and his wife, Dottie, adopted five children and have raised three foster children, and in 1977, Sandusky officially founded the Second Mile, which ran a group home and programs for troubled boys in the State College, Pa., area. In 2001, Sandusky published a book called, "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story," about a man devoted to helping disadvantaged children through Second Mile.

Dottie Sandusky told Sports Illustrated in 1982 that the couple "saw the opportunities that some kids just hadn't had. But we'd gotten to the point where we couldn't take in any more, so Jerry started thinking about starting a group home."

Paterno's son, Scott Paterno, said in an interview that his father never spoke to Sandusky about the allegation and after referring the report of the incident to authorities did not discuss it again, according to The New York Times.

In one previous incidence, janitors witnessed Sandusky having sexual contact with a boy in the shower, but failed to report it for fear of losing their job. Another time, the university police were notified by a mother whose son told her about sexual contact with Sandusky on campus grounds. The university police and county district attorney did not press charges and the case was closed.

When questioned at his home by ABC News about the scandal, Sandusky said he was not at liberty to speak about the allegations.

"The situation is in the courts and I'm not to make any comments," he told ABC News. "Unfortunately, unfortunately I'm not in the position to make any statements."

His attorney says Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

"He's very distraught about the charges, the allegations and the knowledge that regardless of whether he eventually proves his guilt or innocence people are going to think that he did this," attorney Joe Amendola said.

Curly and Shultz announced they were both stepping down from their positions after an executive session of Penn State's Board of Trustees on Sunday.

Spanier made a statement late Sunday that Curley had requested he be placed on administrative leave so he can deal with the allegations, while Schultz will be going back into retirement, The Associated Press reported.

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.

Sandusky, once known for grooming star players for the Penn State Nittany Lions, was considered both a possible successor to legendary head coach Joe Paterno and a pillar of the community. He is now free on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on Nov. 9, but has been banned from the university campus. He faces life behind bars if convicted.

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