Lewis Katz, who donated $15 million to Penn State University and whose name appears on a campus law building, said the school officials who stepped down after a former football assistant was charged with sexually assaulting children are “taking a fall” for the football program, including coach Joe Paterno.
Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business, were charged with failing to report allegations related to former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and then lying to a grand jury about their knowledge of the allegation. Schultz, 62, retired and Curley, 57, requested administrative leave so that he could defend himself.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno, whose 409 wins are the most in major-college history, isn’t a target of her office’s investigation. Paterno, 84, in a weekend statement said the allegations, if true, are “deeply troubling” and that “we were all fooled.”
“Curley and Schultz in some ways are taking a fall for the guys on the field,” Katz, a former owner of the New Jersey Nets, said in a telephone interview. “How can you be with somebody all those years, and see kids coming to games and road trips, and not feel a little uncomfortable?”
Jeff Nelson, a spokesman for Penn State, said in an e-mail that Paterno wasn’t immediately available to respond to Katz’s comments. A news conference with the coach was canceled by the university today less an hour before its scheduled start.
Out on Bail
Sandusky, 67, of State College, Pennsylvania, was freed on $100,000 bail over the weekend after being charged with sexual assaults or advances on eight boys from 1994 to 2009, when he was running Second Mile, a charitable organization for young people, Kelly said.
Sandusky has been aware of the allegations for three years and maintains his innocence, his attorney Joe Amendola said after their Nov. 5 court appearance.
Curley and Schultz allegedly received a first-hand report of a 2002 sexual attack by Sandusky on a boy in the locker room shower and failed to report the incident to police, Kelly said. A graduate assistant, who estimated the boy’s age at 10, first reported the incident to Paterno, who then went to Curley, according to prosecutors.
Paterno said the witness he spoke with didn’t disclose the specific action contained in the grand jury report.
The graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to the coach’s home, where he reported what he had seen, according to the report. Paterno then told the athletic director, Curley, who oversees intercollegiate sports.
‘Legend of Paterno’
“Curley works for Paterno, not the reverse,” Katz said. “There’s nobody bigger than Joe Paterno in the reality of life. It’s very difficult because football trumps everything at Penn State. There’s nothing that comes close to second. The legend of Paterno trumps everything.”
Lawyers for Curley and Schultz said they’ll challenge the charges and are confident of having their clients vindicated.
Katz said he can understand how it would have been difficult for Paterno to report Sandusky, who wasn’t working for him anymore. At the time, Sandusky, while no longer a coach, had an office at the athletic facility. Curley and Schultz told Sandusky that he was banned from bringing any children to the football building, according to the grand jury.
“Paterno had a 30-year relationship with the guy,” Katz said. “Do you want to really become a witness in a case or would you rather just get rid of this guy? It’s a real mess.”
The Sandusky case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Sandusky, MJ-49201-CR-636-2011, Centre County, Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Court 49-2-01 (State College).
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