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Corbett: Paterno Had to Go, More Sandusky Victims Likely

Joe Paterno

Nov. 8: Penn State football coach Joe Paterno speaks briefly to reporters as he leaves for football practice in State College, Pa. Paterno was later fired by the university board of trustees for not doing more to report allegations of child sex abuse by his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who retired in 1999. (AP)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett defended his decision to vote to fire Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno while predicting Sunday that more young victims of ex-defensive coordinator Joe Sandusky will come forward.

Corbett, who as governor is on the university's board of trustees, told "Fox News Sunday" that even though a grand jury determined Paterno did nothing criminal by not taking further action than reporting to his boss that he heard Sandusky had raped a child in the football team's locker room, that wasn't good enough.

"As governor, I have a requirement to make sure that we protect the children of Pennsylvania. That's my focus on this," he said. "In my opinion, when you don't follow through, when you don't continue on to make sure that actions are taken, then I lose confidence in your ability to lead. That would be the case here."

Corbett added that while being cautious about discussing a case still under investigation, he saw in Paterno -- and University President Graham Spanier, who was also fired -- "a failure to act."

"I've always have said, your actions speak louder than your words. That should not have been able to continue," Corbett said. "The actions or the failure to act while maybe not criminal, caused me not to have confidence in the president and in the coach."

Sandusky is now charged with more than 40 counts related to molestation of young boys over a 15-year period. The first charge didn't come to light, however, until 2009, when a 15-year-old student came forward while Sandusky was volunteering as a coach for a high school in Clinton County, which neighbors Penn State's Centre County. 

A grand jury was convened then to investigate Sandusky. Corbett was attorney general at the time.

But former Penn State running back and Pittsburgh Steelers player Franco Harris, who served as an honorary member of Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for at-risk youth, said the jump on Paterno over his moral obligation suggests a holier-than-thou attitude by the public. 

"There was a grand jury investigation, and at the end of that investigation, they found that Joe Paterno cooperated fully with them and had good testimony and there was no charges against Joe Paterno," Harris said. 

"And then, all of the sudden, something came out about a moral obligation, and everybody jumped on that. And everybody said it should be a moral procedure. It should be a moral procedure. And like that is subject to people's own train of thought with that. So, I thought that was unfair and I think it is unfair how people were treating Joe with this issue because Joe is highly moral person and great moral character," Harris said. 

Harris also said the press is to blame for focusing more attention on Paterno than the children who are the alleged victims in the case. As a result, he said, not just Paterno but no one on the board of trustees has shown leadership.

"It doesn't matter about what's true or not true or anything like that. What you do is just cut everything and that's what I mean when I said the board didn't show leadership or show any guts. They just did 101 and I'm very disturbed about that," he said.

Corbett said he's surprised that law enforcement didn't get involved earlier, but as the news breaks that authorities are taking the case seriously, more people are likely to come forth.

"If I had to speculate I wouldn't be surprised if we had more victims come forward. That is why the attorney general and the state police have put up numbers for people to call if they've been a victim," he said.