Prosecution: Penn State execs hid child sex claims against football coach

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. — Penn State coaching legend and Second Mile founder Jerry Sandusky was arraigned Saturday on more than 40 charges alleging sex crimes involving minors.

Sandusky, who was once considered a likely successor to Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno, was arraigned before District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, and released on $100,000 unsecured bail. He was also ordered not to have any contact with children.

Attorney General Linda Kelly and state police Commissioner Frank Noonan issued a news release Saturday announcing the filing of criminal charges against not only Sandusky, but against Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State.

Sandusky has been the subject of a state grand jury investigation for the past two years. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News in March broke the story of the investigation, reporting that it began in 2009, when a 15-year-old told authorities that Sandusky had inappropriate contact with him over a four-year period, starting when he was 10.

When told of the state court fliing against Sandusky on Friday, the mother of one of the alleged victims told the Patriot-News: "I just got goosebumps, seriously."

"I just lived with this for so long, and it killed me when people talked about him like he was a god, and I knew he was a monster," she said.

"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," she said.

The charges against Sandusky are related to sexual advances against eight young men between 1994 and 2009, according to the Attorney General's office. The charges include 21 felonies, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person younger than 16, aggravated indecent assault on a person younger than 16, indecent assault against a person younger than 13.

Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, said after the arraignment that he had not had the opportunity to read or review the charges, or discuss them with Sandusky, so could not comment on them.

However, he said, “As you know, he’s maintained his innocence and he’s been aware of these allegations now for over three years.

"He came back to State College voluntarily last night from out state, he was visiting relatives, and when he was told that he needed to be here today as opposed to returning on Monday when he planned to return, he drove back last night to face these charges. So, we’re hopeful that after we review this, we’ll have some resolution in mind and we’ll go from there.”

Amendola said he was unaware, as of Saturday morning, of the charges against Schultz and Curley.

When asked about Sandusky's condition, he said. “Well, he’s shaky as you can expect, being 67 years old and never having faced criminal charges in his life and having the distinguished career that he’s had, these are very serious allegations. He’s taking them seriously, but he also has realized that he has to face to them and go from there and proceed with his defense.”

Penn State President Graham offered his support for Curley and Schultz in a statement issued by the university on Saturday.

“The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly. Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance," Spanier said.

“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," he said. " 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.”

Documents indicating that criminal charges are being filed against Sandusky were posted to the Pennsylvania court system website Friday afternoon.

A person driving a car with a sign on the dashboard identifying it as being on official business for the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation Division arrived at Dutchcot’s office shortly after it closed at 5 p.m. and was let inside. That person, Dutchcot and two police officers who had arrived a few minutes before the office closed remained inside for more than an hour, all leaving at about 6:35 p.m.

One of the men declined to comment on why they were there. He responded “no” when asked if charges had been filed and whether Sandusky had been arraigned.

The documents that had been posted on the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System website Friday were removed from the site for a time late in the afternoon, but reappeared a few hours later. They named state police Trooper Scott Rossman as the arresting officer.

At one time, Sandusky was considered a likely successor to penn State head coach Joe Paterno. During his 32 years as an assistant coach under Paterno, he was credited with turning Penn State into Linebacker U., producing such pro football greats as Jack Ham and LaVar Arrington.

Sandusky retired in 1999 and turned his focus on The Second Mile, a charitable organization he’d founded in 1977 that serves thousands of at-risk children in Pennsylvania.

He retired from the charity’s board last year.

The Second Mile released a statement Friday saying staff members were “shaken” by the announcement of charges. It said Sandusky informed the organization in November 2008 that he was being investigated as a result of allegations made against him by an adolescent male.

“Jerry maintains that there is no truth to the allegations,” the statement said.

The Second Mile said the charges do not directly involve the organization or its programs. Sandusky had no involvement in children’s programs and services at The Second Mile since November 2008, the statement said.

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