Ex-Penn State assistant coach charged with abuse
Reuters US Online Report Sports News
Nov 05, 2011 20:08 EDT
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A longtime former assistant to celebrated Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was charged with sexually abusing eight boys, a state prosecutor said on Saturday.
Former defensive coordinator Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky, 67, faces charges including seven counts of first-degree involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, all of which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” Kelly said.
Sandusky, who was defensive coordinator for 23 years at the State College, Pennsylvania, school and was once considered a likely successor to Paterno, allegedly targeted boys from 1994 to 2009, a grand jury report said.
He was also charged with aggravated indecent assault, eight counts of corruption of minors and four counts of unlawful contact with a minor.
Two university officials, Athletic Director Timothy Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, senior vice president for finance and business, were each charged with failing to report the crimes, and perjury. Paterno, the all-time winningest coach in major U.S. college football, was not charged in the case.
Sandusky was arraigned on Saturday and released after posting $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
His attorney, Joe Amendola, told reporters on Saturday that Sandusky, who left Penn State coaching in 1999, was shaken by the charges but knew they were coming.
“He’s maintained his innocence. He’s been aware of these allegations now for over three years,” Amendola said.
Penn State President Graham Spanier said in a statement on Saturday that Curley and Schultz had his “unconditional support” and that the allegations against both men would be proven “groundless.”
Attorneys for Curley and Schultz issued statements on the university’s website on Saturday saying the two men were innocent and that they would fight the charges against their clients in court.
PROSECUTOR CITES TESTIMONY FROM ALLEGED VICTIMS
According to the report from the grand jury investigating the case, Sandusky met the victims through his Second Mile organization, a statewide nonprofit organization devoted to “helping troubled young boys.”
“Through the Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations,” the grand jury report said.
Kelly said testimony from numerous victims and witnesses led to the criminal charges that were filed on Saturday.
The alleged sexual assaults came to light after a graduate assistant witnessed Sandusky “sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old” at the Lasch Football Building on the Penn State campus late one night in March 2002, the grand jury report said.
The graduate assistant told Paterno, who alerted Curley, according to the report. Curley and Schultz later met with the graduate assistant and told Sandusky not to bring boys to the football building, but did not alert police, the report said.
“The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky’s alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years — continuing to target new victims,” Kelly said.
(Writing by Eric Johnson; Editing by Greg McCune and Peter Cooney)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Sports News