Disturbing news out of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office today, where charges of child sexual abuse have been filed against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Charges of perjury and failure to report have been entered against Timothy Curley, Penn State's Athletic Director, and Gary Schultz, Senior VP of Finance and Business, a position that oversees the Penn State police department. Head coach Joe Paterno is also said to have testified to a grand jury, although he has not been charged with wrongdoing.
Sandusky is the founder of a program called The Second Mile, which operates programs for young people, according to a press release given by the Attorney General's office. A grand jury investigation has identified eight boys as being targets of sexual activity by Sandusky between 1994 and 2009; all of the encounters began with Second Mile activities.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” [Attorney General Linda Kelly] 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.
The press release issued by the state's Attorney General details a very troubling story in which Sandusky is said to have encountered a victim, aged either 11 or 12 at the time, through The Second Mile program, then initiated a sexual relationship with him that involved providing expensive gifts and trips to sporting events.
The statement notes that suspicious behavior was discovered by employees of a high school in Clinton County, where Sandusky was a volunteer coach and maintained contact with the boy. After the boy's mother reported allegations of sexual assault in 2009, an investigation was initiated.
Unfortunately, the behavior had been noticed years earlier and discussed with Penn State officials, reportedly including Paterno, who relayed the incident to Curley, but the Penn State officials did not report the incident to external police or follow-up in any way beyond trying to distance Second Mile from the football program, according to the AG's statement.
Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury after a ground jury determined that they provided false testimony in the case. They are scheduled to surrender on Monday. The perjury offense is a third degree felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Failure to report is a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $200 fine.
A summary of the Attorney General's report, including the extensive charges filed against Sandusky and an account of the timeline of events, can be read here. The complete report can be found here. It's horrifying. Both the acts that transpired between Sandusky and at least eight young boys, and that key members of the Penn State athletics program, including Joe Paterno, knew that at least one such act went unpunished, with Sandusky maintaining a presence both in the youth charity and the university. It is far worse than recruiting scandals, gifts to players, and academic cheating, and it will forever mark this era of Penn State football.
A search for additional victims is ongoing.