Reports: Jerry Sandusky had access

Updated: November 10, 2011, 1:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years, had access to the team's weight room as recently as last week, according to reports.

The report came just hours before coach Joe Paterno was scheduled to hold his first news conference since his former protege was arrested Saturday on 40 criminal counts of child sex abuse. The news conference was abruptly canceled by the university Tuesday.

Paterno's son, Scott, said his father was prepared to answer questions, but university president Graham Spanier's office made the decision not to go forward with it.

Meanwhile, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which ran a front-page editorial calling for Spanier to step aside, or have the board of trustees push him out, reported Tuesday that a man has come forward claiming to be a victim of alleged sexual abuse by Sandusky.

The male, now in his mid-20s, according to the report, told state police that he was victimized at Penn State's football facilities.

Authorities have said that Paterno, who testified in the grand jury proceedings that led to the charges, is not a target of the investigation. But the state police commissioner has chastised him and other school officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.

A person familiar with Sandusky's relationship with Penn State told The Associated Press that the former coach long maintained an office in the East Area Locker building which is across the street from the Penn State football team's building, and was on campus as recently as week ago working out.

The university's online directory listed Sandusky, whom Penn State officials said was banned from campus over the weekend -- as an assistant professor emeritus of physical education in the Lasch building. Sandusky was Paterno's longtime defensive coordinator and one-time heir apparent.

The grand jury investigating Sandusky found that he was given the office, a parking pass and other amenities as part of his 1999 retirement package.

Such details, along with a front-page call by the Patriot-News for this season to be Paterno's last, would have made the news conference unlike any other for the famed coach.

"There are the obligations we all have to uphold the law. There are then the obligations we all have to do what is right," the editorial board wrote about Penn State President Graham Spanier's role in the sex abuse scandal, along with Paterno's.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in an editorial, called on Paterno and Penn State president Graham Spanier to both resign, too.

Pennsylvania state police commissioner Frank Noonan said Monday in Harrisburg that Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team's locker room shower in 2002. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.

"Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," Noonan said.

"I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."

Sandusky was prohibited from holding youth sports camps on campus in 2002, but continued to hold them through 2008 under his Sandusky Associates company at the university's Behrend campus, just outside Erie.

"We provided the facilities for it," Behrend spokesman Bill Gonda said Monday. "There were no allegations, no complaints during his tenure here."

Sandusky also operated football camps at Penn State Capital College in Middletown, Robert Morris University and Muhlenberg College, among others, according to his website, which is now offline.

The camp was aimed at students from fourth grade through high school and offered personal attention and coaching from Sandusky.

State College has been consumed by the scandal since Sandusky, once revered as the architect of the "Linebacker U." defenses, was charged over the weekend. Penn State athletic director Tim Curley -- Paterno's boss -- and senior vice president Gary Schultz have stepped down, and they surrendered Monday in Harrisburg on charges of perjury and that they failed to alert police about abuse complaints.

Lawyers for Sandusky, Curley and Schultz have said their clients are innocent. Paterno, in a statement Sunday issued by his son, Scott, said he was shocked and saddened by the allegations.

"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," Paterno said in the statement.

But State College has always been different, where the program boasts the slogan "Success with Honor."

"Can they say 'Success with Honor' anymore?" asked Rebecca Durst, owner of Rinaldo's Barber Shop, a fixture in State College since 1926.

At a news conference, Noonan and state Attorney General Linda Kelly were peppered with questions about whether Paterno was given details about what graduate assistant Mike McQueary -- now the team's wide receivers coach -- saw on the night of March 1, 2002.

Paterno has referred to his grand jury testimony in which he testified that he was informed by a graduate assistant that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of the team locker room. Prosecutors have said Paterno passed on the information to Curley.

But Paterno said specific actions alleged to have occurred in the grand jury report were not relayed to him.

"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," Paterno said in the statement. "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."

Paterno has won 409 games, the Division I record, along with two national titles. He has an impeccable record of focusing on academics as well as athletics -- it's the Penn State library, not an athletic building, that is named for Paterno and his wife Sue.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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