The Pennsylvania Attorney General and State Police Commissioner held a 1 p.m. press conference to discuss charges against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky is charged with sexual abuse against children through a charity he founded for at-risk youth. Two university officials, arraigned at 2 p.m., have stepped down following allegations they failed to alert police of Sandusky’s actions. The press conference was streamed live.
Update, 3 p.m. PSU officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz were arraigned this afternoon and will be freed on $75,000 unsecured bail, the Patriot-News reports. Neither entered pleas, but had to surrender their passports. They’re due at a preliminary hearing Nov. 17. Curley is the university’s athletic director and Schultz is the interim senior vice president for finance and business.
Questions were taken at 1:15 p.m.and the press conference ended at 1:27 p.m.
Did Paterno know the full extent of the graphic nature of the 2002 witness’ testimony? AG Kelly says she can’t answer what’s not in the grand jury presentment.
“Mr. Paterno has been interviewed by the investigators,” Kelly says, and has been cooperative. He’s not regarded as a target.
“When you look at the totality,” Kelly says, it “wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility” that there are more than eight victims.
Kelly says she can’t say whether university president Graham Spanier is a target, due to limitations of the grand jury presentment. Curley and Schultz are being charged because of their perjury.
How do you investigate Sandusky without knowing all the victims? Kelly says it’s not necessary under the law to be able to identify the victim in child sex abuse cases. Some of those victims fall into the appropriate pattern. She cannot comment on new leads.
Why was the 2002 witness’ name withheld? That’s not uncommon, Kelly says, though other witnesses have been named.
Why do Curley and Schultz have the responsibility to report the incident to police if the children were not in their care? Kelly says that is “the kind of activity” covered under the statute that gives the pair the obligation to report the incident.
Kelly says they have identified six of the eight victimized children.
Does Penn State have different legal obligations for current and former employees? Kelly says the statute does not refer to employees, but to administrators’ obligations to report an offense.
Have the victims received counseling? Kelly says that’s personal to the victims and their families.
Update, 1:12 p.m. In 1998 Sandusky admitted to university police his unlawful contact with children. In 2000, janitors caught Sandusky in the act, but were too afraid for their jobs to report the incident.
Noonan calls the investigators of the case heroes for conducting an investigation without witness cooperation. It generally takes victims five to six years to come forward, he says, and encourages victims in any such abuse cases to come forward with their complaints.
Update, 1:10 p.m. The victim of the 2002 abuse remains unidentified, and is encouraged to contact state police or Kelly’s office. Any other victims or witnesses are encouraged to do the same. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan says he’s been involved with this investigation for several years. “Not a case about football, not a case about universities,” he says, but about a culture that allowed the abuse to continue.
Update, 1:05 p.m. A graduate assistant witness Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in a university building in 2002 and reported the incident to university officials, Kelly says. Those administrators failed to notify law enforcement or child protective services. University officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz and charged with this action. “The sexual abuse of a child is a horrific offense,” Kelly says, “and failing to report sexual abuse of children is a serious offense and a crime.”
Update, 1 p.m. “This is a case about a sexual predator,” says Pa. Attorney General Linda Kelly. Sandusky is accused of victimizing eight young boys over a 10-year period, and several top university officials are accused of failing to report the suspected abuse and then lying to a grand jury during the investigation. Kelly calls the case a “disturbing pattern” of sexual assaults on young boys.
Original report Education Secretary Arne Duncan said allegations of sexual abuse involving Penn State University are heartbreaking and make him “extraordinarily angry.”
If the allegations are proven true, it’s “mind boggling” that it was allowed to go on for so long, Duncan told The Associated Press in an interview on Monday. He said educators have an “absolute moral, ethical and legal responsibility” to protect kids.
“If a blind eye was turned towards it, or if the allegations were somewhat buried or not taken seriously, well, you’re actually perpetuating the problem,” Duncan said. “You’re giving the abuser more opportunities to hurt more kids. I just can’t fathom that.”
Duncan said the Education Department has been working on efforts to prevent sexual violence on college campuses, but it’s too early to know if it would be involved at Penn State in any way.
Two high-ranking university administrators have stepped down after facing charges that they lied to a grand jury investigating former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and failed to properly report suspected child abuse. Sandusky was arrested on charges that he preyed on boys he met through a charity. All three have maintained they are innocent.
Meanwhile, Philly mag contributor Michael Bradley is calling for famed PSU football coach Joe Paterno to step down. Paterno says he did his job in 2002 when he was made aware of the allegations against Sandusky. Paterno, Bradley argues, should have done much more.
On the legislative side of things, Justice4PAKids and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex abuse are calling on state lawmakers to enact better legislation to stop child predators.
“The Penn State cover-up of Sandusky is just another example of how this state protects predators, not kids,” Justice4PAKids co-founder Maureen Martinez said in a release.
Both groups support House Bills 832 and 878, which would respectively repeal the statute of limitations in child sex abuse civil suits and provide a one-time, two-year window in which victims could bring a civil action in cases previously barred by current statute.
You can read the grand jury report here, but keep in mind some details are graphic