The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case dealt a serious blow to the reputations and prestige of Penn State University and the iconic Joe Paterno, ramifications, which are still being felt by faculty, students and the football program coaching staff.
Tuesday Oct. 9 the former Penn State assistant coach will find out how much time in prison his alleged sexual abuse of children has earned him.
Sandusky, 69, was convicted on June 22 of 45 counts of child sex abuse and faces a maximum sentence of 442 years in state prison. Because of the severity of his crimes, prosecutors will be requesting that he spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is hoping to address the court during the hearing.
The Penn State sex abuse scandal became a firestorm of controversy and allegations when it surfaced in November 2011. There were serious concerns that Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno and other university officials knew about Sandusky’s sexual proclivities toward young boys and did nothing about it. Those concerns took on a new aspect with the release of the internal investigation by former FBI Director Judge Louis J. Freeh, which determined that Paterno, university president Graham Spanier, and other top officials not only knew about Jerry Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse of children, but actively tried to cover it up.
Freeh said that Spanier, Paterno, the university’s athletic director Timothy Curley and senior vice president Gary Shultz were more concerned about bad publicity than protecting those victimized by Sandusky. In the 2001 case that was reported by assistant coach Michael McQueary, university officials chose to expose the child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, the only person who knew the child’s identity. Freeh said no attempts were made to protect any of the children, except to ask Sandusky to keep the children he was allegedly abusing off the campus.
“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” Freeh said. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”
According to Freeh, none of those who could have taken action against Sandusky by informing law enforcement did anything.
According to investigators, over a period of 15 years, Sandusky allegedly sexually abused at least 10 boys and allegedly used his charity, The Second Mile, as a platform to find potential victims.
He was convicted in June of 45 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a young child, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.
Sandusky is now behind bars and awaiting sentencing — which could result in life imprisonment. Spanier and Curley have been charged with perjury and failing to report abuse. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
The Freeh investigation revealed that as early as 1998, university officials and law enforcement authorities knew about Sandusky.
Several witnesses, including football coaches and other staff members, reported seeing him taking showers with young boys, but no one reported any of the incidents to their superiors. University police and the Department of Public Welfare did respond to a report by the mother of one of the victims regarding a possible sexual assault by Sandusky inside the Lasch Building on May 3, 1998.
As a result of the scandal, the statue of the late Joe Paterno was removed from campus and the NCAA hit the university with a $60 million sanction and other penalties that included: Vacating of wins from 1998 to 2011 (112 wins); a four-year postseason ban; and a four-year scholarship.
Hits also included allowing players to transfer and play immediately at other schools and placing the athletic department on probation for five years.