Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police

Kristopher Nichols
September 9, 2017

Joe Paterno knew years before Jerry Sandusky's arrest that the former assistant Penn State football coach might be sexually abusing children.

CNN obtained a Pennsylvania police report that described Paterno's reaction to whistleblower Mike McQueary showing up in his office in 2001 and telling Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky engaged in "an extreme sexual act" with a young boy in the football locker room.

Those superiors - including then-Athletic Director Tim Curley, then-Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz, and then-President Graham Spanier - were later charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and other counts for their failure to take the McQueary report to police, and alleged efforts to color what they did and knew when state investigators began questioning them in 2011. Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky is in jail and is now appealing the court's ruling.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 charges of child sex abuse and is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence at Somerset state prison.

The latest police report casts fresh doubt on denials by Paterno, his family and his supporters that the head coach knew about Sandusky's predatory serial molestation before the 2001 incident.

"You know, [McQueary] didn't want to get specific", Paterno said during the interview.

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Paterno was the head coach of the Penn State football team from 1966 to 2011.

Paterno lost his job as the scandal surrounding Sandusky erupted. The report is based on McQueary's version of the 2001 meeting. After witnessing Sandusky abusing a boy, McQueary went to Paterno to report what he saw.

In a new report, Joe Paterno admitted that there had been a previous complaint against Jerry Sandusky (l.).

But as the source speaking with PennLive Saturday noted, the coach's death in January 2012 - before that email thread came to light - made it impossible to circle back to Paterno on the specifics of his recommendations at that time.

Jay Paterno, one of Joe's sons, a former assistant coach and someone who has been very outspoken about his father's legacy and innocence before the 2001 incident, was elected to Penn State's board of trustees in May. So I just did what I thought was best.

Paterno was sacked by the Penn State board of trustees in a special meeting later that night.

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