Penn State coach Joe Paterno did not know the severity of Jerry Sandusky's alleged crimes until Paterno read the grand jury's findings Saturday, Paterno's son, Scott, told ESPN Sunday evening.
"When he read the presentment and called me, he could barely speak," Scott Paterno said. "It was like a punch in the gut."
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was arrested Saturday on 40 charges that include felony sex charges against children. He retired from Paterno's staff in 1999, but three years later, then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary visited Paterno's home to tell Paterno about a 2002 incident during which McQueary viewed Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the showers of the Penn State football locker room.
After the meeting with McQueary, Paterno relayed the information to university administrators. But he failed to take any more action, saying McQueary was not specific during the meeting and that Paterno did not understand the severity of the issue.
"As my grand jury testimony stated," Joe Paterno said in the statement, "I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. 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. 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 was not charged, and the grand jury did not implicate him of any wrongdoing.
The grand jury discussed a 1998 police report alleging that Sandusky participated in inappropriate behavior with cihldren. But Paterno's son said his father had no knowledge of the police report, and neither did the university, who allowed Sandusky to retire with respect.
"Does anybody really think," Scott Paterno said, "that if (the university) thought he was a child rapist, they would have given him a farewell tour?"
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