Penn State University Football Coach Joe Paterno is facing charges in the investigation into alleged sexual assaults on young boys by Paterno’s former assistant Jerry Sandusky, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said today.
Sandusky, 67, was charged Saturday with assaulting eight boys over more than a decade, while Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz were also charged with covering up the incidents and lying to a grand jury. The news has sent shock waves through the school and become a national story.
Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I football history, testified before the grand jury that after he learned of an alleged assault in 2002 that he informed administration officials.
“He’s been cooperative with the investigators in this case. He is not regarded as a target,” Kelly said of the longtime coach during a press conference this afternoon. “We believe that under the statute he had an obligation to report it to the administration.”
In a statement released Sunday, Paterno proclaimed his innocence. “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.”
Kelly would not say whether University President Graham Spanier had complied with his obligation to report the incident, and she emphasized that the investigation is ongoing.
“This is not a case about football, it’s not a case about universities,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “It’s a case about children who had their innocence stolen from them and a culture that did nothing to prevent it and nothing to stop it.”
The charges were the result of an extensive investigation, which began after one boy claimed Sandusky indecently assaulted him while he was a guest at the former coach’s home in Centre County.
Schultz and Curley stepped down late Sunday and being arraigned today. They will be prosecuted in Harrisburg because that is where the alleged false statements were made, while Sandusky will be prosecuted in Centre County, where the alleged assaults took place.