What did "St. Joe" know, and when did he know it?
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno has a reputation for integrity. After six decades of coaching at Penn State, he's more than an icon, he's a living legend. And last month he became the winningest coach in Division 1 football.
In 2002, when Paterno was told about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's suspicious behavior – in a shower with a boy - it was three years after Sandusky had left the Penn State football program.
On Satuday, Sandusky was arrested on charges that he preyed on boys from he met through 'The Second Mile,' a charity he founded for at-risk youths. Sandusky's attorney says he "maintains his innocence."
Paterno said in a statement released on Sunday: "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."
At the time, Paterno referred the incident relating to Sandusky, who had worked for Paterno for 23 years, to college administrators.
Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business, have been charged with failing to report the alleged crimes, and with perjury before the grand jury.
Late Sunday, Penn State University President Graham Spanier said that both Curley and Schultz would be stepping down. Mr. Spanier said that Curley would be placed on administrative leave. Schultz would be retiring. Both men have said they are innocent of any wrongdoing in the grand jury investigation into whether Sandusky sexually abused eight boys from 1994 to 2009.
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Because the allegations relate to their responsibilities as university employees, Penn State is paying for their legal counsel, school spokeswoman Lisa Powers told Reuters.
Paterno is not under investigation, according to the 23-page grand jury report.
"The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling," Paterno said in his Sunday statement. "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."
While Sandusky left the Penn State football program in 1999, he continued to use school facilities. In his grand jury testimony, Curley said that he "advised Sandusky that he was prohibited from bringing youth onto the Penn State campus from that point forward."
But Deadspin reports that seven years after the 2002 incident, in the summer of 2009, Sandusky was still hosting overnight camps for children as young as 9 at other Penn State schools. According to a flyer sent to Deadspin and the Sandusky Associates website, Sandusky ran a four-day, three-night resident clinic at Penn State's Behrend campus in Erie, and other stops around the state including Penn State Harrisburg.
"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold," Paterno aid in his Sunday statement.
"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."
Was Joe Paterno unaware of Sandusky's football camps at Penn State facilities? Did Paterno ever follow up on the 2002 incident involving Sandusky?
State Attorney General Linda Kelly is reportedly holding a press conference on the case at 1 p.m. today.
Already, some Penn State fans have said they figured this would be Paterno's last year as coach. Penn State currently has an 8-1 record. But the Sandusky allegations may tip the balance. Richard Coleman, a 2010 Penn State grad, told Reuters, "I will be surprised if this is not his last year," he said. "Legally he is in the clear I guess. But morally, it's just awful."