Politics

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football assistant, faces sexual abuse charges

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Penn State is reeling under allegations of sexual assault at the university by former football assistant Jerry Sandusky. (Photo by Flickr user daveynin, cc-by-sa.)

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A former Penn State assistant football coach has been indicted for sexual assault and two university officials have resigned, facing perjury and obstruction charges.

Jerry Sandusky, the revered defensive coordinator for Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, has been charged with sexually assaulting and sexually abusing eight boys over a period of 15 years. Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999 after 32 years on Paterno's staff.

"He was known as the architect of the defense. He was a very prominent figure," said Connor Ennis, the college football editor at The New York Times.

In an extremely graphic grand jury report, Sandusky is accused of using his Second Mile Foundation, a charity he established in 1977 to help disadvantaged you, to gain access to and abuse young boys — some younger than 13.

The grand jury investigation found that a graduate assistant witnessed Sandusky abusing someone in 2002 and reported it to Paterno. Paterno then took the report to his boss, athletic director Tim Curley. Curley, however, has been indicted for failing to report the matter to authorities, as well as for perjuring himself before the grand jury. Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, faces the same charged. Both are expected to turn themselves into authorities today, the Washington Post reported.

So far, Paterno isn't accused of any wrong-doing and, at this time, he's not expected to face any charges.

"In the world of college sports, which continues to go into the gutter, Paterno stood almost above everyone else, in terms of standing for integrity, stability, all the good things sports are supposed to stand for," Ennis said.

But that standing is threatened now, at least on the surface. The New York Times reported that allegations of abuse first surfaced in 1998.

"A mother of an 11-year-old boy Sandusky had befriended at his charity reported to the Penn State campus police that her son had been touched and held by Sandusky in a shower inside the campus’s football facility," the Times wrote.

Campus police conducted a "lengthy" investigation and, ultimately, no charges were filed, despite Sandusky admitted to detectives that he showered with the boys, and that it "was wrong."

In a statement released Sunday night, Paterno said he was shocked and saddened by the allegations.

'If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers," he said.

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