Three men claim earlier abuse by Sandusky: newspaper

PHILADELPHIA Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:52pm EDT

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after his conviction in his child sex abuse trial in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, June 22, 2012. REUTERS/Pat Little

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after his conviction in his child sex abuse trial in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, June 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pat Little

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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Three men have come forward to say they were sexually abused as early as the 1970s or 1980s by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, years before the assaults that he was convicted of committing, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported on Monday.

The men are the first alleged victims with complaints dating back to the 1970s against Sandusky, who was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period beginning in 1994, the newspaper said.

Police are aware of the men's claims, said the article by reporter Sara Ganim, who won a Pulitzer Prize this year for her coverage of the scandal.

It was not clear if the men had been interviewed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who last week released a report excoriating the late Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno and other school officials for failing to take steps for 14 years to protect children victimized by Sandusky.

Freeh's report, commissioned by the Penn State board of trustees, did not mention any cases prior to the 1990s.

Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, said he could not comment on matters before a grand jury. The grand jury investigation into the Sandusky case remains open.

Sandusky's attorney Joseph Amendola could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sandusky, 68, faces as many as 373 years in prison.

Paterno's family, meanwhile, angered by Freeh's report, denied the report's findings and said they will conduct their own investigation into the child sex abuse scandal that has stained the football legend's legacy.

Former university President Graham Spanier, who was among those singled out in the report for failing to stop Sandusky, also issued a statement through his lawyers objecting to Freeh's findings.

The statement said the report ignored "important facts including the conclusions of a far more independent and thorough investigation of Dr. Graham Spanier conducted simultaneously by federal officials responsible for our national security."

That investigation began when the Sandusky scandal surfaced, the lawyers said, and was conducted because Spanier holds top secret security clearance in connection with work he does for the U.S. government. The statement said that Spanier's security clearance was reaffirmed following the federal investigation.

Asked about the clearance and his government work, Elizabeth Ainslie, a lawyer for Spanier, said in an email response, "I'm told the government does not confirm or deny top secret security clearances, at least of this type."

'THE LAST WORD'

Paterno family members said they "are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with" findings in the report that accused Paterno and other officials of covering up allegations of sex abuse by Sandusky to avoid bad publicity that could upset donors and damage the Penn State brand.

The Paterno family said it has asked its attorneys and experts to conduct a comprehensive review of Freeh's report and comments, and "we have also asked them to go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed."

They said they asked Freeh to preserve all his records, notes and other materials "as we expect they will be the subject of great interest in the future."

"To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case," the family said. "It is highly likely that additional critical information will emerge."

Paterno's estate could be sued for damages by victims of Sandusky's abuse, according to legal experts.

The scandal rocked the world of college sports with Sandusky's arrest in November, and Freeh's report underscored what it called callous disregard and inaction by Penn State officials. It said they had known about allegations against Sandusky since 1998, when university police investigated a complaint of abuse but let him off with a warning.

Critics have called for Penn State's highly regarded football program to be penalized and for the removal of a campus statue of Paterno, who won more games than any coach in major college football history.

A university spokesman said on Monday that neither the board of trustees nor the Penn State administration had made a decision on the statue.

Paterno was fired by the board in November and died in January of lung cancer.

"To claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false," his family said in the statement.

The Freeh report said emails exchanged in 1998 and 2001 showed school officials discussed reporting allegations about Sandusky to authorities. After speaking to Paterno, "they changed the plan and decided not to make a report," Freeh said.

The Paterno family said it did not intend to duplicate Freeh's efforts and would not make further comments until its attorneys have an update on the progress of their investigation.

A spokeswoman for the family would not specify the attorneys or experts who will be involved in the new investigation.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Paul Thomasch; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Vicki Allen and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (21)
HAL.9000 wrote:
And launching your own probe will prove what? That the FBI probe was wrong?

The old saying holds true: If a person is nice to you but rude to the waiter, then that person is not a very nice person.

Jul 16, 2012 11:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
geesam47 wrote:
Penn State Watergate.

Jul 16, 2012 12:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
GimmeCoffee wrote:
No surprise here. The Paterno family was all for the truth coming out, that is, until it did and the truth didn’t read the way they wanted it to. We knew what they were up to when they were asking to see the Freeh report before it was released to anyone, just so they could review it and offer Joe’s side of the story and correct any misconceptions…

Newsflash– Paterno is dead. He had his chance to speak in front of the grand jury and in the statements he made and interviews he was giving right up to the month of his death. His family can’t come along and say “Well, if Joe were alive and could answer, this is what he would say.”

Well, the extra millions Paterno negotiated for himself in his new contract will come in handy to pay the Paterno family lawyers, although I’d much rather see those dollars going to the young boys who were molested because of Paterno & Company’s immoral inaction.

Paterno, Sandusky, Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and those few trustee members who knew about the renegotiated contract and kept quiet until after the proverbial feces hit the fan— they’re all interconnected. There’s more to this than we know and I have the feeling that when it comes to light it will be worse than we ever thought.

Jul 16, 2012 12:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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