HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two Penn State officials surrendered Monday on charges that they failed to report suspected child-sexual abuse by a former coach and committed perjury in their related grand jury testimony.
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Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley both stepped down from their posts late Sunday, one day after the charges were announced.
They are accused of failing to alert police to complaints that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused boys. They are also charged with lying to a state grand jury investigating the former defensive coordinator.
Earlier Monday, investigators encouraged anyone who would accuse Sandusky of sexual assault to step forward and talk to police. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly specifically asked that a child reportedly assaulted by Sandusky in view of a graduate student to call detectives about the 2002 encounter.
When asked if it was possible that there were more than eight victims, she said: “When you look at the totality of the circumstances and the number of victims that we have, I don’t think it would be beyond the realm of possibility that there are other victims that exist here.”
Kelly also said the university’s longtime football coach, Joe Paterno, is not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations.
Paterno, who last week became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, wasn’t charged and the grand jury report didn’t appear to implicate him in wrongdoing. He testified before the grand jury.
Schultz, 62, and Curley, 57, will seek to have the charges dismissed, their lawyers said. Schultz’s lawyer said his client was not among those required by law to report suspected abuse. He also argued that the two-year statute of limitations on the summary offense has expired.
Sandusky sexually abused eight boys over 15 years through his charity for at-risk youth, authorities charged.
Sandusky, once considered Paterno’s heir apparent, retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.
Under Paterno’s four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game, and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America’s best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Paterno’s teams were revered both for winning games — including two national championships — and largely steering clear of trouble.
The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual advances to touching to oral and anal sex.
The young men testified before the state grand jury that they were in their early teens when some of the abuse occurred; there is evidence even younger children may have been victimized.
Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence.
The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the three men cites the state’s Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.
It appears neither Schultz nor Curley had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing.
Curley and Schultz have the unconditional support of university President Graham Spanier, according to a statement released Saturday.
Spanier called the allegations “troubling” but predicted the school officials would be exonerated.
“I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years,” Spanier said. “I have complete confidence in how they handled the allegations about a former university employee.”
Kelly, the attorney general, said Penn State officials never made any attempt to identify the child that the grad assistant saw in the showers with Sandusky in 2002.
“Today as we stand here, we encourage that person who is now likely to be a young adult to contact investigators from the attorney general’s office,” she said. “This is an ongoing and active investigation. … We are determined to quickly respond to any new witnesses or any additional information that may appear.”
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