Paterno gone, but questions at Penn State remain
The most tumultuous week Penn State has ever endured is drawing
to a close.
Questions, however, still linger.
Gov. Tom Corbett will be on hand Friday to help the board of
trustees navigate a course through the turmoil from a child
sex-abuse scandal that has engulfed the state’s largest university
and led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno.
Corbett, an ex-officio member of the board, will participate in
Friday’s regularly scheduled trustees meeting, where a committee
will be appointed to investigate the ”circumstances” that led to
the indictments of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, as
well as two university officials.
”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 after arriving
on campus Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Tom Bradley was introduced as interim head
coach, marking the first time in almost a half-century the Nittany
Lions have been guided by anyone other than Paterno.
”We’re obviously in a very unprecedented situation,” said
Bradley, who was Paterno’s lead assistant for the last 11 seasons.
”I have to find a way to restore the confidence.”
The committee has no timetable.
And no shortage of questions to answer – from how much Paterno
actually knew to the future of his staff, including assistant coach
Mike McQueary, who told Paterno but not police about seeing
Sandusky in a shower with a young boy in 2002.
McQueary, now the team’s wide receivers coach, won’t be present
for the final home game of the season Saturday against Nebraska
because of what the university said were ”multiple threats.”
”We intend to be as responsible as we can and make whatever
changes are necessary,” board vice chair John Surma said.
Sandusky, Paterno’s onetime heir apparent, has been charged with
molesting eight boys over 15 years. Athletic director Tim Curley
and university vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with
perjury and failure to report the 2002 assault to police, as
required by state law.
All three maintain their innocence.
Paterno is not a target of the criminal investigation, having
fulfilled his legal requirement by reporting what McQueary told him
to Curley and Schultz. But the state police commissioner called
Paterno’s failure to contact police or follow up on the incident a
lapse in ”moral responsibility.”
Paterno has acknowledged that he should have done more but has
not said why he didn’t go to the police, nor has he said whether he
was aware of any earlier alleged assaults. Aside from a few brief
comments outside his house and two statements, Paterno has not
spoken publicly since Sandusky was indicted.
McQueary told the grand jury that he saw Sandusky sodomizing a
boy of about 10 in the showers at the Penn State football building
in March 2002.
McQueary later told Paterno, Curley and Schultz, although it is
not clear how detailed his description was. Schultz, in turn,
Curley and Schultz – as well as Paterno – testified that they
were told that Sandusky behaved inappropriately in that 2002
incident, but not to the extent of McQueary’s graphic account to
the grand jury.
McQueary has not spoken publicly. His mother, Anne, said
Thursday they have been advised not to comment.
Then 28, McQueary was ”distraught” after witnessing the
alleged 2002 assault, according to the indictment. Yet it appears
he may have continued to participate in fundraising events with
Sandusky – including one held less than a month later.
Sandusky was a coach at a March 28, 2002, flag-football
fundraiser for the Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania, and
McQueary and other Penn State staff members participated by either
playing or signing autographs, according to a ”Letter of special
thanks” published in the Centre Daily Times.
The paper also reported that McQueary was scheduled to play in
The Second Mile Celebrity Golf Classic in 2002 and 2003. The Second
Mile is the charity Sandusky founded in 1997 to provide education
and life skills to almost 100,000 at-risk kids each year.
And in 2004, the Centre Daily Times reported that McQueary
played in the third annual Subway Easter Bowl Game, an Easter Seals
fundraiser that was jointly coached by Sandusky.
Sandusky, a former Penn State player and assistant for 30 years,
including 22 as defensive coordinator, had long been considered the
likely successor to Paterno. But Paterno told Sandusky around May
1999 that he wouldn’t get the top job.
According to the indictment, one of the alleged victims
testified that Sandusky was ”emotionally upset” after that
meeting with Paterno, and Sandusky announced his retirement the
Sandusky said he wanted to spend more time with The Second Mile,
as well as taking advantage of a generous retirement package that
included continued use of an office and access to the school’s
athletic facilities. Several of the alleged assaults took place on
Penn State property.
Sandusky was just 55 when he retired with a sparkling resume. He
stepped off college football’s fast track when he would have been
considered a top candidate for vacancies at any big-time
Bradley spent most of his career at Penn State as a defensive
assistant and succeeded Sandusky as defensive coordinator.
Penn State has said Bradley will be interim coach for the rest
of the season. It has not said if he will be a candidate for the
permanent job, nor has it given any timetable for hiring a new
It’s not even clear who will do the hiring, with Curley on leave
and provost Rodney Erickson serving as interim school
Associated Press Writer Genaro C. Armas contributed to this