AN EXPLOSIVE SEX abuse scandal and possible cover-up rocked “Happy Valley” on Saturday when former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, once considered Joe Paterno’s heir apparent, was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.
Among the allegations was a 2002 incident in which a graduate assistant for the team said he saw Sandusky assault a boy in the shower at the Nittany Lions’ practice center.
Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids.
The state grand jury investigation also resulted in perjury charges against Tim Curley, Penn State’s athletic director, and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business. The two administrators were accused of failing to alert police — as required by state law — of their investigation of the allegations.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement.
Paterno, who last week became the winningest coach in Division I football, was not charged, and the grand jury report did not appear to implicate him in wrongdoing.
Under Paterno’s four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America’s best places to live and nicknamed “Happy Valley.”
Paterno’s teams were revered both for winning games — including two national championships — and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky, whose defences were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers — hence the moniker, “Linebacker U” — spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period between 1994 and 2009.
Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, were expected to turn themselves in on Monday in Harrisburg.