Penn State’s Storied Football Program Rocked by Sexual Abuse Scandal

Penn State’s Storied Football Program Rocked by Sexual Abuse Scandal


bjbjLULU JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the sexual
abuse scandal that is rocking Penn State University and its renowned football program. Margaret
Warner has our report. FRANK NOONAN, Pennsylvania State Police: This is not a case about football.
It’s not a case about universities. It’s a case about children who have had their innocence
stolen from them and a culture that did nothing to stop it or prevent it from happening to
others. MARGARET WARNER: As the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner told it today, that
innocence was stolen by Jerry Sandusky, former longtime defensive coordinator for Penn State’s
Nittany Lions football team. He was arrested Saturday on 40 counts of child sexual abuse
after a three-year grand jury investigation. Two top Penn State administrators, Athletic
Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, were arraigned today on charges
that they didn’t report the abuse to authorities and that they lied to the grand jury. Pennsylvania
Attorney General Linda Kelly: LINDA KELLY, Pennsylvania attorney general: The sexual
abuse of a child is a horrific offense and that understandably arouses strong emotions
within all of us and can cause scars that last a lifetime for its victims. And failing
to report sexual abuse of children is a serious offense and a crime. MARGARET WARNER: The
shocking story has rocked State College, Pennsylvania, long known as Happy Valley and home to the
storied football team and ledge legendary coach Joe Paterno. According to investigators,
the iconic college town was also home to a sexual predator within the program. JERRY
SANDUSKY, Penn State: My attorney has advised me that the situation is in the courts and
I’m not to make any comments. MARGARET WARNER: The 67-year-old Sandusky is charged with sexually
abusing eight boys over 15 years, from 1994 to 2009. All allegedly met him through a charitable
foundation for high-risk youth that he founded in 1977 called The Second Mile. Even after
retiring from Penn State in 1999, Sandusky retained access to the college’s athletic
facility, and it’s alleged some of the abuse occurred there. A janitor told the grand jury
that, in 2000, he witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a pre-teenage boy. Two years later,
a graduate assistant said he saw Sandusky assaulting a 10-year-old boy. The assistant
told Paterno, who in turn reported the allegation to Athletic Director Curley. Paterno didn’t
call police, but he did testify before the grand jury. LINDA KELLY: He’s been cooperative
with the investigators in this case. He’s not regarded as a target at this point. MARGARET
WARNER: The man known affectionately as JoePa became college football’s winningest ever
coach last weekend. Yesterday, he released a statement that read, in part: “If this is
true, we were all fooled. 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.” Still, since the news broke, there have been some
calls for Paterno to resign or even be fired. For now, Sandusky, who has denied the charges,
is free on bond. He’s due in court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, though that appearance
could be delayed. And for more now, we turn to Sara Ganim, reporter for The Patriot-News
in Harrisburg, Pa. She broke the story about the grand jury probe into Sandusky back in
March. She is also a graduate of Penn State. And, Sara Ganim, thank you for joining us.
This is a pretty stunning set of indictments. And Jerry Sandusky was a really major figure
in the Penn State football program. What — give us the gist of what is alleged to have been
his M.O. to prey on these boys — young boys. SARA GANIM, The Patriot-News: Well, the indictment
starts out. The very first page, the jurors say that basically he used his charity, The
Second Mile, to get to kids that were socially — at a social disadvantage that he could
prey on. So — and you’re right. He was number two, you know, second only to Joe Paterno,
at the time that a lot of these acts were alleged to have happened. So he was certainly
a huge — a huge name. He was considered a football great on the field and off the field
because of his charitable work. I mean, when you say the name Jerry Sandusky, it’s almost
synonymous with charity in the Happy Valley. MARGARET WARNER: Now, you have been reporting
on this for a while, or digging into this. A couple of the incidents in the grand jury
report were reported or at least did come to light. What does your reporting tell you
about why indictments were never brought before this? SARA GANIM: Well, in 1998, there was
an incident that was reported to police, to university police, and was investigated for
about six weeks. At the time the district attorney of Centre County was Ray Gricar.
He’s now missing, so we can’t really ask him why he decided not to press charges in this
incident. Police testified that they did — the police investigator who ran that investigation
testified they did set up this kind of like a sting sort of in the mother’s house. The
mother of the victim confronted Sandusky. He admitted that he took a shower with the
boy and that there was some kind of touching that was inappropriate. And he basically said,
“I wish I were dead.” He asked for forgiveness. And that was it. And that’s all according
to the indictment. Nothing ever came of that. No charges were filed. Then we have four years
later this incident that’s witnessed in the locker room, the same locker room, again in
a shower, by a graduate assistant. And, today, the police commissioner said that — the state
police commissioner said that is almost unprecedented. He’s never heard of something like this before,
where someone witnessed a sex act in progress, and it didn’t lead to some kind of investigation
or possibly charges. MARGARET WARNER: OK. And this is the one that was reported to Joe
Paterno, right? This graduate assistant went to him at his home. What did Paterno do after
reporting it to the athletic director? Did he ever follow up? SARA GANIM: He — he didn’t
follow up. What he says happened, the graduate assistant came to him, started to tell him
this story. And he went, whoa, whoa, whoa. You know, these details aren’t for me. This
is something that someone else needs to handle. And that’s when Tim Curley was called. About
a week-and-a-half later, that graduate assistant sat down with Tim Curley and with Gary Schultz.
And that’s where stories start to split, because the graduate assistant says that he told those
two men all the details, that it was, clearly, he witnessed an act, a sexual act, basically
Jerry Sandusky having sex with this boy. The two men say, however, that they were not told
about this sex act, that it was something akin to horsing around, something that was
not that serious, and definitely not a crime, and that’s why they didn’t report it. What
they ended up doing… MARGARET WARNER: In other words…. Go ahead. SARA GANIM: What
they ended up doing was deciding on this ban that they admit wasn’t enforceable that Jerry
couldn’t bring Second Mile children to that locker room anymore. MARGARET WARNER: Now,
I gather also that the university president, Graham Spanier, was advised of this situation.
What has been in general the university’s reaction? And how do they explain their failure
to bring all this to a state authority of some sort? SARA GANIM: Well, the first statement
that they released pledged unconditional support to Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. And that upset
a lot of people. Then, yesterday, when Schultz and Curley stepped down from their positions,
they released a little bit more of a lengthy statement that talked more about the victims,
the nature of the alleged crimes. And that’s kind of where they are. They haven’t made
a statement since then. MARGARET WARNER: And has this provoked, fair to say, a firestorm
in both the Penn State community and in the state? SARA GANIM: You know, it absolutely
has. And I think that what’s going on here is that people initially were in a state of
shock. And then — you read that 23-page indictment, it is not a light read. It is very graphic.
It’s pretty sickening, if those allegations are true. So what happened was people put
themselves in those positions and said, is this what I would have done? And, you know,
these people are heroes in Pennsylvania. They’re heroes to Nittany Lions fans. And I think
a lot of people are just feeling very hurt and very let down and feeling like these people
that they idolized didn’t do what they presumed to be the right thing. MARGARET WARNER: Sara
Ganim of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, thank you so much. SARA GANIM: Sure. urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
place urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags PlaceName urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
PlaceType urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags State urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
City JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the sexual abuse scandal that is rocking Penn State University
and its renowned football program Normal Microsoft Office Word JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the sexual
abuse scandal that is rocking Penn State University and its renowned football program Title Microsoft
Office Word Document MSWordDoc Word.Document.8

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