An ex-Pennsylvania State University defensive coordinator under football Coach Joe Paterno was charged with sexually assaulting boys, and two school officials were accused of lying to a grand jury about what they knew of the incidents.
Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky, 67, of State College, Pennsylvania, was released on $100,000 unsecured bail yesterday after appearing on charges involving sexual abuse of children while he was founder of Second Mile, a charitable organization that operates programs for young people. The charges involve sexual assaults or advances on eight boys from 1994 to 2009, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.
Penn State Athletics Director Timothy Curley, 57, and Senior Vice President Charles Schultz, 62, who oversaw the university police, were charged with failing to report the allegations as well as perjury, Kelly said. They are scheduled to surrender tomorrow in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she 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 in a statement. “It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys.”
All the boys came to know Sandusky through the Second Mile program, which had camps on the Penn State campus, Kelly said. One victim told the grand jury the advances began as “back cracking” and rubbing when he was 11 or 12 years old and later escalated to sex acts during overnight visits at Sandusky’s home.
Sandusky has been aware of the allegations for three years, his attorney Joe Amendola said after yesterday’s court appearance. The investigation began in 2009 after the victim’s mother reported allegations of sexual assault to officials at her son’s high school.
“He’s shaky as you can imagine being a 67-year-old never having to face criminal charges in his life,” Amendola said of Sandusky. “Having the distinguished career he had, these are very serious allegations.”
Curley and Schultz allegedly received a first-hand report of a 2002 sexual attack by Sandusky on a boy in the Penn State locker room showers and failed to report the incident, Kelly said.
“One of the most compelling and disturbing pieces of testimony in this investigation came from an eyewitness to a late-night sexual assault that allegedly occurred in March of 2002, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus,” Kelly said. “Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old.”
The graduate assistant first reported the incident to Paterno, who went to Curley. He then met with Curley and Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business.
“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said.
Predator Walked Free
Instead, Curley and Schultz told Sandusky he was banned from bringing any Second Mile children to the football building.
“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.
University President Graham Spanier said Curley and Schultz have his “unconditional support,” according to the university website Live.
Sandusky, who played for Paterno’s Nittany Lions, was assistant coach from 1969 until his retirement at the end of the 1999 season. He had been considered the heir apparent upon the retirement of Paterno, who at 84, is still coaching.
“I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately,” Spanier said, while acknowledging the allegations against Sandusky are “troubling.”
Schultz “is innocent of all charges,” attorney Tom Farrell said on the website. “We believe in the legal system and we believe it will vindicate him.”
Curley “will vigorously challenge the charges in court, and we are confident he will be exonerated,” attorney Caroline Roberto said in a website statement.
Sandusky is charged with seven felony counts of involuntary sex, as well as charges of aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, and corruption of minors, according to the attorney general’s office.
Curley and Schultz are each charged with one count of perjury, along with one count each of failure to report under the Child Protective Services Law, prosecutors said.