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Entries in Joe Paterno (42)

Thursday
Jul122012

Report: Joe Paterno, Penn State Officials Disregarded Victims' Safety

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and other top university officials acted with "total disregard" for the children sexually abused by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky because of their fear of "bad publicity," a report by the university's internal investigation said on Thursday.

The report was released at the conclusion of the investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired to find out why officials who knew of child molestation accusations failed to stop Sandusky or report him to police.

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT]

The report said that Paterno, along with officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and former Penn State president Graham Spanier, "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities," and it blamed those four men for failing to stop Sandusky and protect other children from his harm.

The four officials showed a "striking lack of empathy" for the victims of Sandusky's abuse and empowered Sandusky to continue abusing, the report said.

The report was released after eight months of investigation, launched in November by the university's Board of Trustees after the arrest of Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz, and the firing of Paterno and resignation of Spanier.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in June.

Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance Gary Schultz were arrested in connection with the Sandusky case and charged with not reporting an alleged incident of abuse in 2001 to the police.  They're also charged with lying about their knowledge to the Pennsylvania grand jury.

Both men have maintained their innocence and are months away from trial.

Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier were never charged criminally in the case, but Paterno was fired and Spanier resigned just days after Sandusky's arrest when the Board of Trustees decided they had not done enough to stop Sandusky.

Spanier has said that he was never told about a specific allegation against Sandusky of child sex abuse.  Paterno, who died in January, said that he told his supervisors what he knew about a 2001 allegation and left it up to them to decide what to do.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul122012

Penn State Awaits Results of Child Sex Abuse Investigation 

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Penn State University on Thursday is bracing for the results of an internal investigation into how the school handled the child sex abuse scandal involving its former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

Last month, Sandusky, 68, was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse.  He faces up to 442 years behind bars when he is sentenced later this year.

Emails leaked to media outlets have shown that investigators, led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, are looking into whether top Penn State officials, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who died in January, played an active role in deciding not to report Sandusky to the police in 2001, after they were informed of child sex abuse allegations.

In one email reported by CNN, athletic director Tim Curley wrote to former president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz that he had discussed the allegations against Sandusky with "Joe," and that Curley did not feel comfortable with "what we agreed were the next steps."  The men ultimately did not report the allegations to authorities, leading to speculation that Paterno and Curley had changed their minds about calling the police.

Attorneys for Curley and Schultz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other emails released to CNN showed that a former vice president of student affairs had butted heads with Paterno over his need to control the discipline of the football team's players.  Vicky Triponey begged administrators to step in and curb Paterno's "manipulative" and "abusive" behavior, in which he tried to wrestle authority over disciplinary decisions away from her.  She ultimately resigned from the university.

Triponey's husband told ABC News she declined to comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar122012

Penn State Trustees Reaffirm Firing Joe Paterno for "Failure of Leadership"

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) -- Just over four months after Penn State’s board of trustees fired iconic football coach Joe Paterno and the university’s president in reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the board released a report Monday reaffirming its decision.

The report, posted on the university’s website, was commissioned after a major public outcry among students, faculty, and others in and around the university community, charging that the firings were improper.

Though the report applauded the legacies and contributions of both former University President Graham Spanier and Paterno, who died in January after battling cancer, it condemned Paterno’s failure to call police after a graduate assistant told him that he had seen former assistant football coach Sandusky molesting a young boy in a university athletic facility.

“The Board determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno,” the report said.

It also defined the board’s “overriding commitment going forward -- to remember the children who may have been victims of sexual abuse on or near the University Park campus over the last 10 or more years and to support their healing process as best we can.”

Trustee Ken Frazier was quoted in the report further explaining the board’s position: "[E]very adult has a responsibility for every child in our community. And…we have a responsibility not to do the minimum, the legal requirement. We have a responsibility for ensuring that we can make every effort that’s within our power not only to prevent further harm to that one child, but to every child.”

Not long after the report was posted, the Paterno family released a scathing retort: "The latest statement is yet another attempt by the Board to deflect criticism of their leadership by trying to focus the blame on Joe Paterno. This is not fair to Joe’s legacy; it is not consistent with the facts; and it does not serve the best interests of the university. The board’s latest statement reaffirms that they did not conduct a thorough investigation of their own and engaged in a rush to judgment.”

The Paterno family’s statement also decried what it called the board’s lack of leadership, concluding that, “Everyone who cares about Penn State is longing for strong, courageous, honest leadership. Today’s statement is anything but that.”

Meanwhile, Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola was back in court Monday.

During a short hearing Monday morning, he addressed his request for a more specific bill of particulars, arguing with prosecutors about how much information the defense should be allowed to see in regards to the accusers and their accounts of the alleged abuse.

Amendola argued that the accusers should be able to remember dates when the alleged abuse occurred. He said that if they cannot remember dates, he plans to motion to dismiss the trial, citing a violation of the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

“I think it’s fundamentally unfair to Mr. Sandusky’s due process rights and his chance to have a fair trial,” Amendola said.

But prosecutors said that any inability of the alleged victims to describe the abuse with more specificity is not surprising, considering their ages at the time, and the nature of the abuse. The alleged victims were all youths when the alleged assaults occurred. One boy was 10 years old.

Prosecutors also added that Sandusky gave up that right to ask those kinds of questions when he waived his preliminary hearing in December.

Sandusky did not appear in court Monday; Amendola said that he did not want to cause an uproar by bringing his client, whom he described as “anxious.” Sandusky is under house arrest in his Centre County home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

Large Memorial Service Planned for Joe Paterno

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- More than 10,000 people will gather at Penn State's basketball arena Thursday afternoon to remember the university's head football coach Joe Paterno, who died last Sunday at the age of 85 from lung cancer complications.

Tickets for “A Memorial For Joe” went on sale Tuesday and sold out in less than 10 minutes.

Thursday's memorial follows two days of grieving for the winningest coach in Division 1 football, who was fired last November because of child abuse allegations against his former defensive coordinator.  Public viewings were held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, before "Joe Pa" -- as Paterno is affectionately known -- was buried Wednesday afternoon.

 “A Memorial For Joe” will be held at the Bryce Jordan Center at 2 p.m. The event will also be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network and BTN.com

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan252012

Full House Expected at Memorial Service for Joe Paterno

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- The list is long of those who wish to pay their final respects to former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, who died last Sunday at age 85.

Over 10,000 tickets to Thursday's memorial service at Penn State's basketball arena were distributed in no more than seven minutes on Tuesday.

Penn State's athletic department made the tickets available on its website with just two tickets allowed per user.

Some ticket holders tried to profit off of the memory of Paterno, who was fired last November because of child abuse allegations against his former defensive coordinator, by hawking the tickets on eBay.  The auction website quickly pulled down the postings because it does not allow users to sell free merchandise for a profit.

Meanwhile, thousands of mourners turned up Tuesday to view Paterno's coffin at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, a religious sanctuary that Paterno's family helped build and worshipped in every Sunday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan232012

Family, Players and Students Mourn Joe Paterno’s Death

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- A candlelight vigil was held outside of Penn State's administration building Sunday night to honor the university's former head football coach Joe Paterno, who passed away that morning at the age of 85.

In a statement, Paterno's family announced Sunday morning that he had died at a hospital in State College, Pa., of complications from lung cancer.  Minutes after the announcement, people began to gather at the bronze statue of Paterno on the Penn State campus.

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE STATEMENT FROM PATERNO'S FAMILY]

“What we lost today is really really hard to replace.  In fact, won’t be replaced, it’s just a sad day,” said former Penn State linebacker Matt Millen. “Guys like coach Paterno rarely rarely come around and they touch many many lives on many different levels, and it’s not just about football, it is way beyond that.”

Paterno’s son Scott tweeted: “My family wants to express our heartfelt thanks to the hospital staff and doctors. They were amazing and caring -- Thanks isn’t enough. We would also like to thank all of the tens of thousands of people who have been praying -- your kindness continues to sustain us. Finally, to Penn Staters, past and present, know that Dad loves you all and has always loved being part of your family.”

Paterno’s son Jay also shared similar sentiments on Twitter: “Our family thanks Penn Staters, students & all people for prayers & support for my Dad. He felt your support in his fight.”

The Penn State Board of Trustees and University President Rodney Erickson released a statement saying the university plans to honor Paterno, “for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy.”

Paterno, the winningest coach in Division 1 football, was fired in November in the wake of the child abuse case involving his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.  Upon hearing the news, students rallied on campus for the man they affectionately called "Joe Pa," and Paterno thanked his supporters.

“It’s hard for me to tell you how much this means to me,” he said.  “I’ve lived through this place, I lived for people like you guys and girls.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan222012

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies at Age of 85

Justin K. Allen/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Joe Paterno, former Penn State football coach, passed away Sunday at the age of 85.

The health of Joe Paterno, whose glittering career as Penn State’s football coach was tainted by a child sex abuse scandal, took a turn for the worse on Saturday. His wife, Suzanne Paterno, summoned close friends and longtime staff members Saturday afternoon to the State College hospital where Paterno had been undergoing treatments since last weekend, a source told the Citizen’s Voice newspaper of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Paterno wanted to see them and say a final goodbye, the coach’s wife told one of the staff members, the source said.

Paterno family’s spokesman Dan McGinn released a statement saying: “Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious.  His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Paterno coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and in 2011 became the winningest coach in Division 1 football. But before the season was over, he was abruptly dismissed as the sex scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky suggested that top school officials had ignored signs of Sandusky's alleged predatory behavior.

Shortly after his dismissal, Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments weakened him, robbing him of his hair and his once-booming voice.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, he appeared frail, wearing a wig and speaking in a whisper.  He canceled public appearances following the interview because of his failing health, according to family members.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan212012

Joe Paterno in Serious Condition, Family Says

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(WILKES-BARRE, Pa.) -- The health of Joe Paterno, whose glittering career as Penn State’s football coach was tainted by a child sex abuse scandal, has taken a turn for the worse, according to the family spokesman.

Paterno’s wife, Suzanne Paterno, summoned close friends and longtime staff members Saturday afternoon to the State College hospital where Paterno has been undergoing treatments since last weekend, a source told the Citizen’s Voice newspaper of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Paterno wanted to see them and say a final goodbye, the coach’s wife told one of the staff members, the source said.

After the report, Paterno family’s spokesman Dan McGinn released a statement saying: “Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious.  His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Shortly after his dismissal from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip.

Chemotherapy treatments have weakened Paterno, robbing him of his hair and his once-booming voice.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, he appeared frail, wearing a wig and speaking in a whisper.  He canceled public appearances following the interview because of his failing health, according to family members.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan152012

Joe Paterno Admits He Did Not Know How to Handle Sex Allegation

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno admits that he was taken aback by accusations that a former assistant had raped a boy in the school showers and he did not know how to handle it.

Paterno, 85, told the Washington Post that the young aide who came to him in 2002 with a report that he had seen Jerry Sandusky allegedly fondling a boy in the lockerroom did not go into details.

"You know, he didn't want to get specific. And to be frank with you I don't know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man," Paterno said.

But even the few details that Paterno did hear baffled him.

"I didn't know which way to go," he said. "And rather than get in there and make a mistake ...."

At another point, Paterno said, "I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."

A day after he was alerted to what he says was a general accusation against Sandusky, Paterno says, "I called my superiors and I said, 'Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into it?' Cause I didn't know, you know."

Paterno, who had coached at Penn State for 61 years and built the team into a natonal powerhouse, was fired in midseason along with the school's president after the 2002 allegation became public.

The grand jury report that indicted Sandusky on 50 counts of sexually abusing boys also said that no school official called police, that others obstructed the investigation, and detailed previous allegations against Sandusky that had not prompted the school to limit his access to its facilities.

Paterno's abrupt dismissal has prompted outrage, first by loyal students who affectionately refer to him as "Joe Pa," and more recently by angry alumni who have demanded the board of directors step down over their treatment of Paterno.

His health has also suffered. Paterno has undergone chemotherapy for lung cancer and recently broke his hip. The Washington Post reported that he spoke in a whisper, wore a wig and sat in a wheelchair during the first of a two-part interview. For the second interview, Paterno stayed in bed.

Paterno and his wife Sue said they learned that he was fired about 10 p.m. one night when the doorbell rang and Sue was silently handed a note with a name and phone number on it.

Paterno called the number of John Surma, vice chairman of trustees.

"In the best interests of the university, you are terminated," Paterno says he was told.

When asked if he thought that was fair, the coach said, "Whether it's fair I don't know, but they do it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan122012

Penn State Alumni Furious over Joe Paterno’s Treatment

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Penn State alumni are angry at the firing of Joe Paterno and told the school’s president Wednesday night they want the board of trustees to step aside to give the university a clean slate.

More than 600 Penn State alumni grilled new PSU President Rodney Erickson during an emotional meeting about the university’s actions since the sex abuse scandal broke in November.

One of the two most emotional moments came when one woman who said she brought both of her babies home from the hospital wrapped in Penn State blankets, told Erickson, “A lot of that is because of our pride in PSU and the integrity of Joe Paterno. What you did to Joe Paterno is unconscionable.”  Applause erupted from the crowd.

When the moderator read a question that stated, “What are the plans to realign the make-up of the board…. The board of trustees should step down,”  the crowd rose in a standing ovation.

Paterno, 85, was abruptly fired in the middle this year’s football season after news broke that his former assistant Jerry Sandusky had been repeatedly accused of sexually molesting boys, but no one ever called the cops. The school’s former president was also dismissed and three athletic officials were removed from their posts.

Paterno, affectionately known as “Joe Pa” on the campus, had coached the nationally recognized football team for 61 seasons, including the last 46 years as head coach.

Erickson said that Penn State has a long and rich tradition and that Paterno had a big part in building that.

“We certainly want to honor Joe Paterno as the future unfolds,” he said.

Erickson did not give specifics, but promised the alumni that they would have an opportunity to celebrate Paterno’s career.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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