Penn State Sex Scandal: Joe Paterno to Retire
Legendary coach will step down at the end of the season
By Colleen Curry | ABC News – 2 minutes 22 seconds ago
Legendary coach Joe Paterno said today that he is "absolutely devastated" by the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the school and announced that he will retire at the end of this season.
Paterno's retirement after 46 years is the latest casualty of the Penn State sex abuse scandal.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case," Paterno, 84, said in a statement today. "I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief."
"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," he said.
Paterno, who set a record this year as the winningest coach in top level college football ever, said it has been his intention to "serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care."
"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can," Paterno said.
Paterno's exit will mark one of the biggest losses amid the sex abuse scandal that has shaken the university and seen two of its top officials and a former coach arrested and charged criminally.
Penn State representatives did not have an immediate comment.
Paterno decision was made after he came under intense criticism following allegations of a school cover-up of sexual abuse of children by his longtime assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. The incidents occurred on campus and were brought to the attention of Paterno and others, according to a grand jury presentment.
"I've lived for this place. I've lived for people like you guys and girls," Paterno said Tuesday night to fans who had gathered outside his home. "It's hard for me to say how much this means.
"As you know, the kids that were the victims. I think we ought to say a prayer for them," he said.
Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years, all of whom he met through his charitable organization, The Second Mile, a group home and outreach program for troubled boys.
Also arrested were athletic director Tim Curly and Vice President for Finance Gary Shultz, who are charged with not reporting the sexual abuse to police and lying to a grand jury under oath during the investigation.
The charges stem from a March 2002, incident in which graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a locker room shower in the Penn State football department. McQueary told Paterno what he saw, and Paterno in turn told Curly and Shultz. None of the men reported the incident to police.
The Pennsylvania attorney general said Monday that Curly and Shultz were legally required to alert police to the incident, while Paterno was only legally obligated to tell his superiors. But Paterno has come under fire for failing what police called a "moral obligation" to alert themt to the crimes.
Pressure has also increased for university president Graham Spanier to step down for his role in the scandal. Curly and Shultz reported to Spanier that there had been an inappropriate incident with Sandusky and a child in the locker room showers, and that they had taken away Sandusky's privilege of bringing children onto campus. Spanier approved the decision and never reported the Sandusky incident to police.
Sandusky allegedly molested some of the children that he brought to the Penn State campus to meet the team members and work out at the facilities. He also brought them along on trips to away games and plied them with gifts, according to the presentment.
Two earlier sexual assaults on campus had been brought to the attention of employees and administrators, neither of which were reported to the police, according to the attorney general.
Sandusky was a coach and defensive coordinator for the team for 23 years before retiring in 1999. After his retirement, he continued to have unlimited access to the football department and campus, and continued to run football camps for boys at Penn State's campuses.
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