See updates at bottom of post.
In 1998 Jerry Sandusky, a prominent assistant coach on Penn State’s top-ranked football team — and a possible successor to Joe Paterno as the team’s head coach — groped an 11-year-old boy in the team’s showers. The boy’s mother learned of this incident, she reported it to Penn State police. Sandusky later admitted to police that he had hugged the boy naked in the showers.
No charges were brought, and Sandusky retired the following year, retaining emeritus status at Penn State, an office in the university’s football building, and full access to the team’s facilities.
In 2000 Penn State janitors witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a male child in the football team’s showers. They reported the incident to their supervisor, who took no action. The janitors, fearing that they would lose their jobs if they took the matter forward, made no formal complaint about the incident.
In 2002 a Penn State graduate coaching assistant witnessed Sandusky anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the team’s showers. He told coach Joe Paterno, and then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz, the latter of whom had authority over the university’s police. None of these officials reported the allegations to any police agency, nor did Penn State president Graham B. Spanier when he was notified.
Sandusky continued to have access to Penn State facilities, and to travel with the team, until his arrest Saturday on 40 counts of sexual abuse, allegations involving eight victims and incidents stretching from 1994 to 2009. Curley and Schultz have been indicted on perjury and failure to report charges stemming from the 2002 incident. Schultz has retired, and Curley has been placed on administrative leave, while Spanier and Paterno remain in their positions.
Spanier has said he has “complete confidence in how” Curley and Schultz “handled the allegations.” The university is paying the two men’s legal bills.
Paterno has more victories than any football coach in NCAA Division I history. His salary stands in excess of one million dollars a year, making him the highest-paid employee at Penn State.
Update | A statement from NCAA president Mark Emmert Monday evening condemned the sexual abuse of children but made no reference to the alleged Penn State coverup of Sandusky’s behavior.
Second Update | Paterno just canceled his weekly press conference, less than an hour before it was to begin.
Third Update, 12:20 pm | The New York Times is reporting that Penn State officials have decided that Paterno will not remain at Penn State, and that his departure could come “within days or weeks.”
Fourth Update, 1:25 pm | Now the Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that support for Paterno and Spanier is “eroding” on the Penn State Board of Trustees, and that the board could vote to remove both as soon as Thursday.
Fourth Update, Wednesday 9:30 am | A thousand Penn State students marched in response to the ongoing crisis last night, many of them supporters of Coach Paterno. Some called for the resignation of President Spanier, while others simply declared their support for Penn State itself.
Fifth Update, Wednesday 10:10 am | The Associated Press is now reporting that Paterno will retire at the end of this season. Penn State’s trustees met last night by phone and will meet again this evening — they are expected to announce the formation of a committee to investigate the scandal on Friday.