Penn State fires Paterno amid child sex abuse scandal
Defensive co-ordinator Tom Bradley takes over football club
Just because Joe Paterno is gone doesn't mean the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State is over.
The Nittany Lions started life without the 84-year-old Paterno on Thursday, introducing interim coach Tom Bradley while the board of trustees was just beginning its formal investigation.
"We're obviously in a very unprecedented situation," said Bradley, who was Paterno's lead assistant for the last 11 seasons. "I have to find a way to restore the confidence."
Key dates in sex abuse case
A chronological look at the case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, based on a grand jury report in Pennsylvania state court.
- 1969 — Jerry Sandusky starts his coaching career at Penn State University as a defensive line coach.
- 1977 — Jerry Sandusky founds The Second Mile. It begins as a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled boys and grows into a charity dedicated to helping children with absent or dysfunctional families.
- January 1983 — Associated Press voters select Penn State as college football's national champion for the 1982 season.
- January 1987 — Associated Press voters select Penn State as college football's national champion for the 1986 season.
- 1994 — Boy known as Victim 7 in the report meets Sandusky through The Second Mile program at about the age of 10.
- 1994-95 — Boy known as Victim 6 meets Sandusky at a Second Mile picnic at Spring Creek Park when he is 7 or 8 years old.
- 1995-96 — Boy known as Victim 5, meets Sandusky through The Second Mile when he is 7 or 8, in second or third grade.
- 1996-97 — Boy known as Victim 4, at the age of 12 or 13, meets Sandusky while he is in his second year participating in The Second Mile program.
- 1996-98 — Victim 5 is taken to the locker rooms and showers at Penn State by Sandusky when he is 8 to 10 years old.
- Jan. 1, 1998 — Victim 4 is listed, along with Sandusky's wife, as a member of Sandusky's family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl.
- June 1999 — Sandusky retires from Penn State but still holds emeritus status.
- Dec. 28, 1999 — Victim 4 is listed, along with Sandusky's wife, as a member of Sandusky's family party for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.
- Summer 2000 — Boy known as Victim 3 meets Sandusky through The Second Mile when he is between seventh and eighth grade.
- March 2, 2002 — In the morning, the graduate assistant calls Coach Joe Paterno and goes to Paterno's home, where he reports what he has seen.
- March 3, 2002 — Paterno calls Tim Curley, Penn State athletic director to his home the next day and reports a version of what the grad assistant had said.
- March 2002 — Later in the month the graduate assistant is called to a meeting with Curley and senior vice-president for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. The grad assistant reports what he has seen and Curley and Schultz say they will look into it.
- March 27, 2002 (approximate) — The graduate assistant hears from Curley. He is told that Sandusky's locker-room keys are taken away and that the incident has been reported to The Second Mile. The graduate assistant is never questioned by university police and no other entity conducts an investigation until the graduate assistant testifies in Grand Jury in December 2010.
- 2005-2006 — Boy known as Victim 1 says that meets Sandusky through The Second Mile at age 11 or 12.
- Spring 2007 — During the 2007 track season, Sandusky begins spending time with Victim 1 weekly, having him stay overnight at his residence in College Township, Pa.
- Spring 2008 — Termination of contact with Victim 1 occurs when he is a freshman in a Clinton County high school. After the boy's mother calls the school to report sexual assault, Sandusky is barred from the school district attended by Victim 1 from that day forward and the matter is reported to authorities as mandated by law.
- Early 2009 — An investigation by the Pennsylvania attorney general begins when a Clinton County, Pa. teen boy tells authorities that Sandusky has inappropriately touched him several times over a four-year period.
- September 2010 — Sandusky retires from day-to-day involvement with The Second Mile, saying he wants to spend more time with family and handle personal matters.
- Nov. 5, 2011 — Sandusky is arrested and released on $100,000 US bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts.
- Nov. 7, 2011 — Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly says Paterno is not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations. But she refuses to say the same for university president Graham Spanier. Curley and Schultz, who have stepped down from their positions, surrender on charges that they failed to alert police to complaints against Sandusky.
- Nov. 8, 2011 — Possible ninth victim of Sandusky contacts state police as calls for ouster of Paterno and Spanier grow in state and beyond. Penn State abruptly cancels Paterno's regular weekly press conference.
- Nov. 9, 2011 — Paterno and Spanier, one of the nation's longest-serving college presidents, are ousted, effective immediately. Earlier in the day, Paterno announced he'd retire at the end of the season. In the end, he didn't have that choice.
— The Associated Press
Many questions remained unanswered — from how much Paterno actually knew to whether there will be any repercussions for assistant coach Mike McQueary, who told Paterno but not police about seeing former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a young boy in 2002.
The campus was calm Thursday, after thousands of angry students paraded through the streets, some throwing rocks and bottles and tipping over a television news van.
The school said Thursday night that there had been "multiple threats" against McQueary, now the team's receivers coach, and he would not attend Saturday's home finale against Nebraska "in the best interest of all."
Paterno was fired Wednesday night, effective immediately, just hours after the coach had announced that he would retire at the end of the season.
Gov. Tom Corbett arrived Thursday in advance of Friday's previously scheduled trustees meeting and told reporters that he supported the decision to oust college football's winningest coach and university President Graham Spanier because they didn't do enough to alert law enforcement authorities.
"Their actions caused me to not have confidence in their ability to continue to lead," said Corbett, who is on the board.
One-time heir apparent
Sandusky, Paterno's former assistant and one-time heir apparent, has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years. In the week since the state grand jury released its report, athletic director Tim Curley has taken administrative leave and vice-president Gary Schultz has retired.
"Certainly every Pennsylvanian who has any knowledge of this case, who has read the grand jury report, feels a sense of regret and a sorrow to also see careers end," Corbett said. "But we must keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there can be no margin of error, no hesitation to act."
It was a hurried process.
"We do not yet know all the facts and there are many details that have to be worked out," board vice chair John Surma in announcing the firings of Paterno and Spanier, one of the nation's longest-serving college presidents.
He said "change was necessary" and added: "To allow this process to continue was going to be damaging to the university."
"We handled it the best way we could with the information we had and with the time that was available to us," he added. "We were wanting to be decisive, but also wanting to be thorough."
Paterno is not a target of the criminal investigation, having fulfilled his legal requirement by reporting what McQueary told him to Curley and Schultz. But the state police commissioner called Paterno's failure to contact police or follow up on the incident a lapse in "moral responsibility."
Paterno has acknowledged that he should have done more but has not said why he didn't go to the police, nor has he said whether he was aware of any earlier alleged assaults. Aside from a few brief comments outside his house and two statements, Paterno has not spoken publicly since Sandusky was indicted.
McQueary, who is Penn State's wide receivers coach, told the grand jury that in March 2002, he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10 in the showers at the Penn State football building.
McQueary later told Paterno, Curley and Schultz, although it is not clear how detailed his description was. Schultz, in turn, notified Spanier.
Curley and Schultz — as well as Paterno — testified that they were told that Sandusky behaved inappropriately in that 2002 incident, but not to the extent of McQueary's graphic account to the grand jury.
Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report the incident to authorities, as required by state law. Through his attorney, Sandusky has denied the charges.
McQueary has not spoken publicly. His mother, Anne, said Thursday they have been advised not to comment.
Then 28, McQueary was "distraught" after witnessing the alleged 2002 assault, according to the indictment. Yet it appears he may have continued to participate in fundraising events with Sandusky — including one held less than a month later.
Sandusky was a coach at a March 28, 2002, flag-football fundraiser for the Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania, and McQueary and other Penn State staff members participated by either playing or signing autographs, according to a "Letter of special thanks" published in the Centre Daily Times.
The paper also reported that McQueary was scheduled to play in The Second Mile Celebrity Golf Classic in 2002 and 2003. The Second Mile is the charity Sandusky founded in 1997 to provide education and life skills to almost 100,000 at-risk kids each year.
And in 2004, the Centre Daily Times reported that McQueary played in the third annual Subway Easter Bowl Game, an Easter Seals fundraiser that was jointly coached by Sandusky.
Sandusky, a former Penn State player and assistant for 30 years, including 22 as defensive co-ordinator, had long been considered the likely successor to Paterno. But Paterno told Sandusky around May 1999 that he wouldn't get the top job.
According to the indictment, one of the alleged victims testified that Sandusky was "emotionally upset" after that meeting with Paterno, and Sandusky announced his retirement the next month.
Sandusky said he wanted to spend more time with The Second Mile, as well as taking advantage of a generous retirement package that included continued use of an office and access to the school's athletic facilities. Several of the alleged assaults took place on Penn State property.
Sandusky was just 55 when he retired with a sparkling resume. He stepped off college football's fast track when he would have been considered a top candidate for vacancies at any big-time program.
Bradley spent most of his career at Penn State as a defensive assistant and succeeded Sandusky as defensive co-ordinator.
Penn State has said Bradley will be interim coach for the rest of the season. It has not said if he will be a candidate for the permanent job, nor has it given any timetable for hiring a new coach.
It's not even clear who will do the hiring, with Curley on leave and provost Rodney Erickson serving as interim school president.