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Ousted coach Paterno hires Washington lawyer amid scandal
November 11, 2011 / 1:26 PM / 6 years ago

Ousted coach Paterno hires Washington lawyer amid scandal

College football coach Joe Paterno (L) and his wife Sue greet supporters outside their home after it was announced that he had been fired by Penn State State University, in this still image taken from video in State College, Pennsylvania November 9, 2011. REUTERS/Courtesy WCAU-TV NBC Channel 10/Handout

STATE COLLEGE, Pa (Reuters) - Ousted Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has hired high profile Washington lawyer J. Sedgwick (Wick) Sollers to represent him in the sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant to Paterno, the coach’s son Scott said in a statement.

“On behalf of my father, I have retained (J. Sedgwick) Wick Sollers at the law firm of King and Spalding. My father’s desire is for the truth to be uncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end,” Scott Paterno said.

Sollers recently was involved in a disagreement with some Republican lawmakers after his firm pulled out of representing them in a dispute with the administration of President Barack Obama over the “Defense of Marriage Act” defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Scott Paterno, who has been sending a flurry of twitter messages over the last week as the scandal unfolded, said that Sollers advised the Paterno family not to comment further on the scandal, and they would comply.

Former Penn State University football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky (C) is led away by police after being arrested in a sex crimes investigation, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in this November 5, 2011 handout photograph released on November 10. REUTERS/Pennsylvania State Attorney General's Office/Handout

There were media reports on Thursday that Sollers had been retained by Paterno but Scott Paterno said in a tweet then that: “No lawyer has been retained.”

Paterno’s longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is alleged to have sexually abused eight young boys over more than a decade, both before and after his retirement from the team in 1999.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Two former university officials -- athletic director Tim Curley and finance official Gary Schultz -- have been charged with failing to alert police after they learned of the alleged abuse, as well as perjury in their statements to a grand jury.

Paterno, who is not a target of the investigation, said he was informed of an incident involving Sandusky in 2002 and passed the information up the chain of command to the university’s athletic director.

But Paterno, 84, the winningest coach in big-time college football, was fired on Thursday. He has been criticized for not following up or doing more to address the allegations.

Reporting and Writing by Greg McCune; Additional reporting by Ross Krasny and Joseph Ax; Editing by Peter Bohan

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