2 Penn State Officials Leave Amid Sex Abuse Scandal

fromWITF

Two top Penn State officials charged with covering up allegations of a child sex abuse scandal have stepped down after Sunday's emergency meeting of the university's Board of Trustees. Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged over the weekend with sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Child sex abuse charges have now stained a legendary story of college football, the long-running success story of Penn State.

INSKEEP: Jerry Sandusky was a player at Penn State under Coach Joe Paterno in the 1960s. Later he became Paterno's defensive coordinator, a leading figure for decades.

MONTAGNE: His players shut out the opposition in their final game under Sandusky's direction in 1999. Now the former assistant coach faces charges of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period; he'd been working with at-risk youth in a charity he founded in State College, Pennsylvania.

INSKEEP: Over the weekend, two top Penn State officials resigned. They face arraignment today on charges of perjury, failing to tell authorities what they'd learned about Sandusky.

MONTAGNE: The news has stunned college football fans, as Tim Lambert reports from member station WITF.

TIM LAMBERT, BYLINE: Bill Morrison and two friends are sitting at a Harrisburg bar taking in several NFL games at once. Morrison says he's met Jerry Sandusky several times.

BILL MORRISON: He seemed like a really good guy. It was just something you never ever would have thought of. You know, I think pretty much everyone is shocked about it.

LAMBERT: The 67-year-old Sandusky retired from coaching in 1999, but maintained a presence around the team for another decade. He's best known for devising bruising defenses for most of his 32-year career at Penn State as well as founding the Second Mile charity to work with at-risk children. His alleged victims were all part of that program and were as young as 10 years old.

Sandusky's indictment would normally be enough to send shockwaves through the fan base. Then came word of more indictments against university athletic director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, who oversaw the campus police force. Those charges of lying to a grand jury and failure to report child abuse are taking this unfolding saga to a whole other level.

Early this morning, the school announced both Curley and Schultz have stepped down as a result of the allegations. At his request, Curley will be placed on administrative leave, while Schultz is retiring.

Neil Rudel is the managing editor of the Altoona Mirror newspaper and has covered the Nittany Lions since 1977.

NEIL RUDEL: The reaction has just been such disappointment in the Penn State leadership. Everybody. It's the saddest story in Penn State history.

LAMBERT: A 23-page indictment doesn't paint the university's response to Sandusky's alleged actions in a good light. Curley and Schultz are accused of failing to notify authorities after being presented with an eyewitness account in 2002. According to grand jury testimony, legendary coach Joe Paterno brought it to Curley's attention after a graduate assistant reported seeing inappropriate behavior between Sandusky and a young a boy in a shower. In a statement released last evening, Paterno expressed shock at the charges and asked fans to let the legal process unfold.

Nils Fredricksen, a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, says the apparent lack of action is unconscionable.

NILS FREDRICKSEN: Certainly to witness or to hear about potential child abuse and not take steps to report it is reprehensible. To allow a pattern of conduct to go on potentially for years goes beyond that.

LAMBERT: Lawyers for Sandusky, Curley and Schultz say their clients are innocent. Sandusky has been released on $100,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. For NPR News, I'm Tim Lambert in Harrisburg.

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