Paterno not a 'target' of child abuse probe
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno is not a target of the ongoing investigation of former assistant Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with numerous counts of sexual abuse of children.
Kelly discussed the grand jury presentment in more detail Monday, two days after Sandusky was arrested and charged with 40 counts of various sexual crimes -- some of which allegedly took place on the Penn State campus.
The charges against Sandusky, a longtime defensive assistant under Paterno, include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; aggravated indecent assault; unlawful contact with a minor; and endangering the welfare of a child.
Paterno was apparently made aware of one of the incidents that took place in the showers of Penn State's football building by a graduate assistant in 2002. The legendary coach then allegedly informed athletic director Tim Curley.
Curley and Gary Schultz, who oversaw Penn State's police department, were both charged with perjury and failure to report under the Child Protective Services Law. The attorney general's release over the weekend said the two men were charged because they took little action when confronted with Sandusky's alleged actions and lied about their knowledge of them.
"Mr. Paterno has been interviewed by the investigators," Kelly said Monday when asked why Paterno was not charged or considered responsible for reporting the incident to authorities other than school officials. "He reported this to individuals within the administration -- Curley and Schultz. He's not regarded as a target at this point."
Paterno issued a statement late Sunday night.
"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," the statement said.
Sandusky was retired from coaching when the alleged incident in the Penn State football building was said to have taken place. He was an assistant under Paterno for 32 years before calling it quits in 1999.
The grand jury's presentment found that eight young men were the targets of sexual advances or assaults by Sandusky, starting in 1994 and continuing through 2009.
Kelly, during Monday's press conference, confirmed that six of the eight children have been identified. Of the two who haven't, one was the victim in the alleged Penn State shower incident.
She asked that person to contact authorities, giving them a phone number to call.
State police commissioner Frank Noonan, who has overseen the investigation, said Monday the process has been difficult because of the failed cooperation of witnesses.
"This is not a case about football. It's not a case about universities," Noonan said. "It's about children that have had their innocence stolen from them."
Noonan said there were reports from 1998 and 2000 that indicated Sandusky committed such acts on the Penn State campus. He added that janitors in the football building didn't report one of the incidents because they were afraid of losing their jobs.
Kelly said Sandusky, who operated a charitable organization for young people called The Second Mile, had unrestricted access to the Penn State football building and locker rooms as part of his retirement agreement.
Curley and Schultz, who stepped down from their positions with Penn State on Sunday night, have maintained their innocence and were appearing in court Monday.