Corbett: I’d lost confidence in Paterno, Spanier
Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday that he supported moves by Penn
State’s board of trustees to force out famed football coach Joe
Paterno and president Graham Spanier, saying he’d lost confidence
in their leadership capacity.
Corbett, who is on the 32-member board along with 10
gubernatorial appointees, made the comments after a second day of
private meetings of Penn State trustees amid an unfolding child sex
abuse scandal involving the university.
Asked if he thought that Paterno and Spanier didn’t do enough to
alert law enforcement to protect the safety of children, Corbett
said he was disappointed in their actions.
”I support the board’s decision,” Corbett said. ”Their
actions caused me to not have confidence in their ability to
continue to lead.”
Corbett, the state’s former attorney general, wouldn’t answer
questions from reporters about any of the board’s internal
discussions in the wake of a grand jury report released Saturday
that said former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had
sexually assaulted multiple boys, including some on university
property. Sandusky has denied the allegations.
The trustees announced Wednesday night that Paterno, in his 46th
season coaching Penn State’s storied football team, would no longer
be coach and that Spanier would no longer be president.
”Certainly every Pennsylvanian who has any knowledge of this
case, who has read the grand jury report, feels a sense of regret
and a sorrow to also see careers end,” Corbett said. ”But we must
keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there
can be no margin of error, no hesitation to act.”
Scrutiny fell on Paterno and Spanier after the grand jury report
said a team graduate assistant was in the locker room on the night
of March 1, 2002, when he discovered what he said was a naked boy,
about 10 years old, being sexually abused by Sandusky.
Paterno and Spanier have said they weren’t told the exact
details of the incident or the seriousness of the matter, but the
Pennsylvania State Police commissioner, Frank Noonan, has suggested
they fell short of their moral responsibility to alert police.