Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal
Jerry Sandusky, the longtime defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, is being charged with eight counts of child sex abuse. Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Shultz, a vice president who oversees the school’s police department, are charged with covering up the crimes after they learned of them.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and another school administrator were charged Saturday with perjury and failure to report in an investigation into allegations that former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young men, state prosecutors said.
Sandusky, 67, of State College, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail, the attorney general’s office said. Curley, 57, and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, 62, both of Boalsburg, were expected to turn themselves in Monday in Harrisburg. Schultz’s position includes oversight of the university’s police department.
Closely identified with the school’s reputation as a defensive powerhouse and a program that produced top-quality linebackers, Sandusky retired in 1999. Longtime head coach Joe Paterno, who has more victories than any coach in the history of Division I football, was not charged, authorities said. When Paterno first learned of one report of abuse he immediately reported it to Curley, prosecutors said.
Sandusky, who worked with at-risk children through his Second Mile organization, was charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault and other offenses. A preliminary hearing for Sandusky is scheduled for Wednesday.
Attorney General Linda Kelly called him “a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys.”
The grand jury identified eight young men who were targets of sexual advances or assaults by Sandusky from 1994 to 2009, prosecutors said.
As stunning as the charges were the names implicated at a school where the football program is known for its consistency as much as its success—a big change this year was the removal of white trim from players’ uniforms.
“It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury,” Kelly said.
Prosecutors said all of the young men first encountered Sandusky through Second Mile.
The charges in detail:
Attorney General Linda Kelly and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan today announced that criminal charges have been filed against three Centre County men as the result of an extensive and wide-reaching grand jury investigationinto reports of the sexual abuse of children.
The defendants include:
- Gerald Arthur “Jerry” Sandusky, age 67, of 130 Grandview Road, State College, former Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State University football team and founder of The Second Mile, a charitable organization that operates programs for young people.
- Timothy Mark Curley, age 57, of 201 Meadowlark Lane, Boalsburg, the Director of Athletics for Penn State University.
- Gary Charles Schultz, age 62, of 636 Rosslyn Road, Boalsburg, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business at Penn State University, a position that includes oversight of the Penn State University Police Department.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” Kelly said. “It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys.
“I hope people will understand that any suspicion of sexual abuse should be reported to the police,” Commissioner Noonan said. “Sexual abuse is a serious issue and children are often scared to tell anyone about the abuse – many cases are hidden for years – but by informing the police they can stop it.”
Kelly and Noonan said that evidence was presented to an investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges that were filed today. Testimony was heard from numerous victims and others who observed or reported suspicious activities, along with the submission of local and state records from the University Police, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Children and Youth Services offices.
Kelly said the investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General’s Office was initiated by a referral from then Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira. Originally, the case focused on the claims of “Victim 1,” a young boy who reported that Sandusky had indecently assaulted him and engaged in various sex acts while the boy was a house guest at Sandusky’s home in College Township, Centre County.
Kelly said the victim first encountered Sandusky through the Second Mile program, when he was 11 or 12 years old, attending a Second Mile camp on the Penn State University campus. Sandusky also allegedly used expensive gifts to maintain contact with the boy, including trips to professional and college sporting events, golf clubs, a computer, clothing and money.
According to the grand jury, Sandusky used overnight visits at his home to make physical contact with the boy, typically at bed time. The victim testified that Sandusky’s advances began with “back cracking” and rubbing, later progressing to Sandusky performing sex acts on the boy and having the boy engage in similar activity with him.
Kelly said that Sandusky also allegedly used his position as a volunteer coach at a high school in Clinton County in order to continue contacting the victim, often calling the boy from study hall to have unsupervised “meetings” with Sandusky.
The grand jury also heard testimony from a wrestling coach at the high school about an unusual evening encounter at the school, where Sandusky was discovered lying face-to-face with the boy in a secluded weight room. Other high school officials testified that Sandusky was “clingy” and “needy” in his reaction to situations where boys he was supposedly mentoring would break-off their relationships, describing the behavior as “suspicious.”
The grand jury noted that Sandusky was barred from the school district attended by the victim in 2009, after the boy’s mother reported allegations of sexual assault to the school. That matter was promptly reported to authorities, as required by Pennsylvania law – a report that marked the start of an extensive investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General’s Office.
The quick action by high school staff members in Clinton County in response to reports of a possible sexual assault by Sandusky is in marked contrast to the reaction of top officials at Penn State University, who had actually received a first-hand report of a sexual attack by Sandusky seven years earlier.
“One of the most compelling and disturbing pieces of testimony in this investigation came from an eyewitness to a late-night sexual assault that allegedly occurred in March of 2002, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus,” Kelly said. “Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old.”
According to the grand jury, the graduate assistant had returned to the football building that evening to put a new pair of sneakers in his locker and to retrieve some recruiting films, only to be surprised that the lights were on in the locker room and showers were running. The assistant immediately recognized Sandusky.
Kelly said the assistant, who was extremely upset about what he had seen, immediately called his father to relate what he had discovered. Together, the two decided that the assistant should promptly report the incident to head football coach Joe Paterno.
The next morning, the assistant telephoned Paterno and then went to Paterno’s home to explain what he had seen. Paterno testified that he then called Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and met with Curley the following day, explaining that a graduate assistant had reported seeing Sandusky involved in sexual activity with a young boy in the showers at the Lasch Building.
Kelly said that approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Curley and Gary Schultz, who was Senior Vice President for Finance and Business at the University. At that time, the assistant again recounted what he had witnessed Sandusky doing to a young boy in the showers of the football locker room.
“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said. “Additionally, there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack first-hand.”
Kelly said that rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building. That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile).
“Despite this so-called ‘ban’, which was reviewed and approved by University President Graham Spanier without any further inquiry on his part, there was no effective change in Sandusky’s status with the school and no limits on his access to the campus,” Kelly said. “Sandusky’s ’emeritus’ position, alleged negotiated as part of his 1999 retirement, provided him with an office in the Lasch Football Building; unlimited access to all football facilities, including the locker room; access to all recreational facilities; a parking pass; a university Internet account; listing in the faculty directory and numerous other privileges – he had remained a regular presence on campus.”
During testimony before the grand jury, Schultz acknowledged that he was aware of a 1998 University Police investigation that also involved allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior involving Sandusky and young boys in the football showers, but did not pursue the matter further and did not seek any additional review in light of the new report in 2002.
The grand jury also noted that the 1998 report involving Sandusky and boys in the showers was reviewed by University Police and Child Protective Services, with the blessing of Wendell Courtney, who at the time served as University Counsel and was (and remains) counsel to The Second Mile – though no criminal charges were ever pursued.
Kelly said the grand jury determined that Curley and Schultz had provided false testimony while discussing their response to the 2002 report of a child sexual assault in the football showers.
Specifically, the grand jury found that Curley committed perjury in repeatedly denying that he had ever been told that Sandusky had engaged in sexual misconduct with a child.
Additionally, assertions by Schultz that the allegations concerning Sandusky were “not that serious” and that he and Curley “had no indication that a crime had occurred” were in direct contradiction to other testimony and constituted perjury.
The grand jury found that portions of the testimony provided by both Curley and Schultz were not credible.
“The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky’s alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years – continuing to target new victims,” Kelly said. “Equally disturbing is the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among those same officials, and others who received information about this case, who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way.”
Kelly said that despite the false testimony and “uncooperative atmosphere” encompassing some Penn State University and Second Mile officials, investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and State Police gradually uncovered a pattern of other potential sexual assaults by Sandusky.
The grand jury eventually identified a total of eight young men who were the targets of similar sexual advances or assaults by Sandusky, starting in 1994 and continuing through 2009. All of the victims first encountered Sandusky through Second Mile activities.
Sandusky is charged with the following offenses:
- Seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, all first-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- One count of aggravated indecent assault, a second-degree felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- Four counts of unlawful contact with a minor, all first-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- Four counts of unlawful contact with a minor, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
- Four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
- Four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all first-degree misdemeanors which are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Eight counts of corruption of minors, all first-degree misdemeanors which are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- One count of indecent assault, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
- Four counts of indecent assault, all second-degree misdemeanors which are each punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Two counts of indecent assault, all first-degree misdemeanors which are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- One count of attempt to commit indecent assault, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Sandusky was taken into custody today in Centre County and preliminarily arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot, who released him on $100,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 9th.
Curley and Schultz are each charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, along with one count each of failure to report (under the Child Protective Services Law), a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $200 fine.
So, to reiterate, Sandusky was running a “non-profit organization for children who need additional support and who would benefit from positive human contact” and then sexually abusing said children. And senior administrators at Penn State knew this was going on and decided the reputation of the football program was more important than protecting children from a predator.
This is unspeakably horrible. One presumes Sandusky is simply hard wired for deviancy, so there’s room for some sympathy mixed in with the revulsion. But for senior leaders of a fine university to allow it to go on to protect a football program is incomprehensible. It’s a pity that seven years in prison is the maximum penalty.
While one hesitates to say the cover-up is worse than the crime when children were harmed in such an egregious way, it’s true in the narrow sense that the damage to the sterling reputation of Penn State and its football program in incalculably higher in light of the cover-up than it would have been had Sandusky been turned in the moment Curley or Schultz first learned of it. Sandusky’s name is indelibly tied to Penn State’s but any institution can have an employee with a dark secret.
The silver lining here for me is that it does appear that Joe Paterno, a truly legendary figure, acted properly here. I might have preferred that he called the cops rather than his AD been he heard about Sandusky’s crimes but he at least seems to have had the appropriate revulsion and communicated immediately with an authority figure.
UPDATE: I’m operating on the perhaps unwarranted assumption that wheels went into motion once Paterno made his report to Curley. If no action was taken and Paterno didn’t bother to follow up, all bets are off.
I truly hope that isn’t the case. As an Alabama alum and fan, I don’t have any dog in the fight other than that Paterno has been a worthy adversary and his reputation for doing things the right way and treating “scholar-athlete” as something other than an ironic joke is worthy of esteem. I’d really hate to see decades of good will go down the drain here.
UPDATE 2: Alas, a revised and extended version of the AP story is not good for Paterno:
Longtime head coach Joe Paterno, who has more victories than any coach in the history of Division I football, was not charged, authorities said, and the grand jury report did not appear to implicate him in wrongdoing. It said that when Paterno first learned of one report of abuse, he immediately reported it to Curley, but Sandusky was no longer coaching at the time and it’s not clear whether Paterno followed up with Curley.
Kelly said that in 2002, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy, estimated to be about 10 years old, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on campus. The grad student and his father reported what he saw to Paterno, who immediately told Curley, prosecutors said.
Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half later, Kelly said. Nothing happened.
“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said.
There’s no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy, or follow up with the witness, she said.
Just heartbreaking. Paterno is 84 years old and has been the head coach at Penn State since I was in diapers. If there were a Mount Rushmore of college football coaches, he’d be on it. But this could be the lead sentence in his biography if new light isn’t shed.
UPDATE 3: Shockingly, Penn State president Graham Spanier is going out on a limb offering “unconditional support” to the men indicted by a grand jury for perjury in a case involving serial sexual abuse of children.
The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly. Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance.
With regard to the other presentments, I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support. I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years. I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.
Tim Curley and Gary Schultz operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion. I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately.
I admire loyalty and, certainly, Curley and Schultz are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by the state. But “unconditional support” is going rather far here given the degree of evil in play here.