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Penn State abuse scandal engulfing revered Paterno

By Genaro C. Armas

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 4:55 a.m. MST

In this photo provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky, center, is placed in a police car in Bellefonte, Pa. to be taken to the office of a Centre County Magisterial District judge on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing eight young men. Also, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, 62, are expected to turn themselves in on Monday on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into the abuse allegations against Sandusky.

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Commonwealth Media Services, Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Every Tuesday during the fall, Joe Paterno ambles into the media room at Beaver Stadium, settles into his seat and holds court.

The octogenarian coach usually doles out some one-liners along with the injury updates.

This Tuesday's press conference isn't likely to resemble any other in Paterno's 46-year tenure at Penn State.

Paterno will be asked about what he knew and when about his former defensive coordinator and one-time heir apparent Jerry Sandusky, who was indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.

Authorities have said that Paterno, who testified in the grand jury proceedings that led to the charges, is not a target of the investigation. But the state police commissioner has chastised him and other school officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.

Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Monday in Harrisburg that Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team's locker room shower in 2002. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.

"Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," Noonan said.

"I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."

Already there are some calls for Paterno's resignation.

"I don't know his involvement, but I do think he could send a very strong message if he would step down and retire, or even make a public statement," said Julie McGinn, a 23-year-old biology major from Chicago.

The school issued a statement Monday night reminding media that the main focus of this week's press conference was Saturday's Senior Day game with Nebraska.

The contest, however, is almost an afterthought considering the shocking developments.

"He's a figurehead for this school," said McGinn, who stood in front of the student union Monday afternoon holding a sign that read, "I paid a six-figure tuition and all I got was this lousy sex scandal."

Sandusky was prohibited from holding youth sports camps on campus in 2002, but continued to hold them through 2008 under his Sandusky Associates company at the university's Behrend campus, just outside Erie.

"We provided the facilities for it," Behrend spokesman Bill Gonda said Monday. "There were no allegations, no complaints during his tenure here."

Sandusky also operated football camps at Penn State Capital College in Middletown, Robert Morris University and Muhlenberg College, among others, according to his website, which is now offline.

The camp was aimed at students from fourth grade through high school and offered personal attention and coaching from Sandusky.

Happy Valley has been consumed by the scandal since Sandusky, once revered as the architect of the "Linebacker U." defenses, was charged over the weekend with the abuse of eight boys over a 15-year span. Penn State athletic director Tim Curley — Paterno's boss — and senior vice president Gary Schultz have stepped down, and they surrendered Monday in Harrisburg on charges of perjury and that they failed to alert police about abuse complaints.

Lawyers for Sandusky, Curley and Schultz have said their clients are innocent. Paterno, in a statement Sunday issued by his son, Scott, said he was shocked and saddened by the allegations.

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