Penn State head coach Joe Paterno issued a statement Sunday on the case involving former longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky, who is facing charges of felony sex abuse involving children.
Paterno, who testified before a grand jury in March, has not been charged. Athletic director Tim Curley and another Penn State official have been charged with felony perjury and failing to alert police after a witness told them he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a shower at Penn State's football practice facility. The witness, a former Penn State graduate assistant coach, informed Paterno, who then informed Curley.
Here's Paterno's full statement:
If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.
As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.
Also, the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News has identified the graduate assistant who gave the eyewitness account as Mike McQueary, now the team's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. McQueary was the team's starting quarterback in 1997 and has been on staff for the past eight seasons.
There's obviously much more to come with this story, and we'll be posting all the updates on the blog.