Bloomberg News

Penn State Cancels Coach Paterno’s Weekly News Conference

November 08, 2011

(Updates with comment from Paterno’s son in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Penn State University canceled football coach Joe Paterno’s news conference less than an hour before it was scheduled to start amid a child-sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant.

Paterno, 84, meets with journalists each Tuesday to discuss the upcoming game, this week against the University of Nebraska. Penn State had told reporters that no questions about the case involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky would be allowed.

“Due to the on-going legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today’s press conference cannot be held and will not be re- scheduled,” the school said in a statement.

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 ran The Second Mile, a charitable organization for young people, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said yesterday

Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, interim vice president for finance and business, were arraigned Monday on charges that they failed to report alleged child sexual abuse by former defensive coordinator and for lying to a grand jury about their knowledge of the allegation.

Premature Report

Paterno’s son, Scott, said a New York Times report that the school was planning his father’s exit was premature. He also said on Twitter and in an interview with Fox’s local television affiliate in Philadelphia that the school, not the coach, canceled the news conference. He told the station that his father wants to talk about the allegations against Sandusky, and that he would coach Saturday when the Nittany Lions play Nebraska.

Schultz, 62, retired and Curley, 57, requested administrative leave so that he could defend himself. They were both released on $75,000 bail. Their attorneys said they’ll challenge the charges and expect to have their clients vindicated.

Kelly said Paterno, whose 409 wins are the most in major- college history, isn’t a target of her office’s investigation.

Outside Investigation

The Board of Trustees announced two days ago that it would hire an outside law firm to conduct a review of the school’s policies to protect children, review police-reporting protocols with administrators and improve educational programming about such topics.

The Second Mile charity said in a statement on its Web site that Sandusky hasn’t been involved in its programs involving children since November 2008, when he informed them he was being investigated. He maintained there was no truth to the claims.

Second Mile Chief Executive Jack Raykovitz told the grand jury he was contacted by Curley in 2002 and was told “an individual had reported to Mr. Curley that he was uncomfortable about seeing Jerry Sandusky in the locker room shower with a youth. Mr. Curley also shared that the information had been internally reviewed and that there was no finding of wrongdoing. At no time was The Second Mile made aware of the very serious allegations contained in the Grand Jury report.”

School Listing

Sandusky, who is married and has six adopted children with his wife, Dottie, retired in 1999 but continued using the school’s facilities. The school’s online directory listed Sandusky, who was banned from campus over the weekend, as an assistant professor emeritus of physical education.

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 an eyewitness 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.

--Editors: Michael Sillup, Larry Siddons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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