Lifestyle & Belief

Timeline: Penn State scandal

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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse on December 13, 2011 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Sandusky was attending a prelininary hearing on charges he sexual abused 10 boys.

Credit:

Rob Carr

Former FBI director Louis Freeh on Thursday issued a long-awaited report on Penn State's handling of sex abuse accusations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, blasting university officials for a cover-up and accusing them of completely disregarding the safety of the child victims.

Here is a timeline of events in the scandal surrounding Sandusky, who last month was found guilty of sexually molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. He awaits sentencing.

1969: Pennsylvania State university hired Sandusky as an assistant football coach. He served under legendary head coach Joe Paterno.

1977: Sandusky founded The Second Mile, a charity dedicated to helping troubled children. It was through this charity that he found and befriended his victims, then gave them presents and molested them.

1994: According to a report by a grand jury set up in 2011 to investigate Sandusky, a boy the jury identifies as Victim 7 met Sandusky through The Second Mile. He told the grand jury that he had a "blurry memory" of having improper contact with the coach when they showered together in the campus football locker room a couple of years later.

1996 or 1997: A boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 4, now 27, began a relationship with Sandusky that later resulted in repeated sexual violations.

1998: Sandusky showered with a boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 5, now 22, pinning him in a corner, rubbing him and placing the boy's hand on his genitals.

1998: A boy identified as Victim 6, now 24, told the grand jury Sandusky showered with him when he was 11. The boy told his mother, who reported the incident to university police.

June 1, 1998: As part of their investigation University police interviewed Sandusky, who admitted showering naked with Victim 6 and hugging him in the shower and conceded it was wrong. A university police detective told Sandusky never to shower with children again, according to the grand jury report, but no criminal charges were pursued.

1999: Sandusky retired as defensive coordinator but retained access to Penn State athletic facilities. The American Football Coaches Association named him the major college Assistant Coach of the Year.

2000: Sandusky published his autobiography "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story." That same year a janitor saw Sandusky in the showers performing oral sex on a young boy. The janitor told co-workers and his supervisor, but the incident was not reported to authorities.

February 2001: A graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, reported seeing Sandusky rape a boy who appeared to be about 10 years old in the shower of the campus football locker room. The next morning, McQueary told Paterno what he had seen. Paterno testified that he reported McQueary's account to Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley the following day.

About 10 days later, McQueary had a meeting with Curley and Schultz at which he recounted what he had seen. The incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency. Curley told the grand jury he was informed of "inappropriate conduct" and "horsing around" but not of sexual assault. Curley barred Sandusky from bringing minors onto campus.

2004 to 2008: Three other boys were abused in Sandusky's home, according to testimony to the 2011 grand jury.

2009: Sandusky was barred from a nearby school district after a mother reported allegations of sexual assault against her son to the school. That case was promptly reported to authorities, triggering an investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General's Office.

September 2010: Sandusky retired from The Second Mile.

November 5, 2011: A grand jury charged Sandusky with 40 counts of molesting eight boys from 1994 to 2009. Sandusky was arrested and released on a $100,000 unsecured bail. The charges carried a maximum combined penalty of 373 years in prison.

Curley and Schultz were charged with perjury for testimony they gave about their knowledge of accusations against Sandusky. The Penn State president, Graham Spanier, said the men had his "unconditional support" and that the allegations against both would be proven groundless.

November 9, 2011: Paterno announced he would retire at the end of the 2011 football season, but the university board of trustees later that day said Paterno and Spanier had been fired.

November 18, 2011: One of Paterno's sons said the ousted coach had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

December 7, 2011: A further 12 counts were brought against Sandusky for abusing two more boys. He was arrested again and held on bail of $250,000 in cash.

January 22, 2012: Paterno, 85, died of lung cancer.

May 25, 2012: The Second Mile announced plans to close.

June 5, 2012 - Sandusky's trial began and heard graphic testimony from a number of victims. Sandusky did not testify.

June 22, 2012 - The jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 of the 48 charges against him: 25 felonies and 20 misdemeanors. He was led from the courthouse in handcuffs.

July 12, 2012 - Freeh issued his report on the results of an eight-month investigation. "Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," Freeh said in a statement. "In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University ... repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse."

Sources: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, Centre County grand jury report, Freeh report and Centre County court records and testimony.

(Reporting by Mark Shade and Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Storey)