(Reuters) - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky goes to trial this week in a child sex abuse case that rocked the university and turned upside-down the world of collegiate sports.
Here is a timeline of events in the criminal investigation that resulted in 52 counts against Sandusky, accused of sexually molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has pleaded not guilty.
1969: Penn State hires Sandusky as an assistant football coach and he serves under legendary head coach Joe Paterno.
1977: Sandusky founds The Second Mile, a charity dedicated to helping troubled children. It was through this charity that Sandusky finds his victims, befriends them, gives them presents, and then molests them, a grand jury in Centre County, Pennsylvania, alleges.
1994: A boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 7, now 26, met Sandusky through The Second Mile. He told the grand jury that he has a “blurry memory” of having improper contact with Sandusky when they were showering together in the football locker room on the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania, a couple of years later.
1996 or 1997: A boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 4, now 27, began a relationship with Sandusky that later resulted in repeated sexual violations, the grand jury alleges.
1998: Sandusky showered with a boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 5, now 22, pinning him in a corner, rubbing him and placing the boy’s hand on his genitals, the grand jury alleges.
1998: A boy identified as Victim 6, now 24, told the grand jury Sandusky asked to shower with him when he was 11, and that Sandusky lathered soap on his back and bear-hugged him. The boy told his mother, who reported the incident to university police, leading to a lengthy investigation.
1998: University police conduct an investigation into allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior involving Sandusky and young boys in the football showers. No criminal charges were pursued. Gary Schultz, a university finance official, told the grand jury in 2011 that he was aware of the 1998 investigation.
June 1, 1998: University police interview Sandusky, who admitted showering naked with Victim 6 and hugging him in the shower and conceded it was wrong. A university police detective told Sandusky never to shower with children again, according to a grand jury report.
1999: Sandusky retires as defensive coordinator but retains many privileges such as access to Penn State athletic facilities.
1999: The American Football Coaches Association names Sandusky the major college Assistant Coach of the Year.
2000: Sandusky publishes his autobiography “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story.”
Summer 2000: A boy identified by the grand jury as Victim 3, now 24, testified that Sandusky would bear-hug him in the shower after workouts and touch his genitals while sleeping over at Sandusky’s house.
Fall 2000: A janitor saw Sandusky in the showers performing oral sex on a young boy identified as Victim 8 who was pinned against the wall, the grand jury said. The janitor told co-workers and his supervisor, but the incident was not reported to authorities at the time, the grand jury said.
February 2001: A graduate assistant, later identified as Mike McQueary, reports seeing Sandusky rape a boy who appeared to be about 10 years old in the shower of the campus football locker room in State College. Called Victim 2 by the grand jury, the boy has not been identified or located. The next morning, McQueary telephoned Paterno and then went to Paterno’s home to explain what he had seen. Paterno testified that he called Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and met with Curley the following day, explaining that McQueary had reported seeing Sandusky involved in sexual activity with a young boy in the showers. About 10 days later, McQueary was called to a meeting with Curley and Schultz at which he recounted what he had seen. The incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency. Curley told the grand jury he was informed of “inappropriate conduct” and “horsing around” but not of sexual assault. Curley barred Sandusky from bringing minors onto campus. Prosecutors initially said the incident occurred in March 2002 but later changed the date to February 2001.
2004 to 2008: A boy identified by the statewide grand jury as Victim 9 was forced to perform oral sex on Sandusky repeatedly in the basement bedroom of Sandusky’s home, and Sandusky attempted to rape him at least 16 times, according to the statewide grand jury. On trips to a hotel, Sandusky would expose himself and engage in other inappropriate conduct, the statewide grand jury said.
Fall 2007: A boy identified by a statewide grand jury as Victim 10 said Sandusky pulled down his gym shorts and performed oral sex on him in the basement bedroom of Sandusky’s home several times. Sandusky also had the boy perform oral sex on him, the grand jury said.
2007 and 2008: A boy identified by the Centre County grand jury as Victim 1 testified that Sandusky performed oral sex on him more than 20 times when he was 13 or 14 years old. Sandusky also had Victim 1 perform oral sex on him one day and also touched Victim 1’s genitals with his hands, the grand jury said.
2009: The Centre County grand jury said Sandusky was barred from a school district attended by Victim 1 after the boy’s mother reported allegations of sexual assault to the school. That matter was promptly reported to authorities, triggering an investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General’s Office.
September 2010: Sandusky retires from The Second Mile.
November 5, 2011: A Centre County grand jury charges Sandusky with 40 counts of molesting eight boys from 1994 to 2009. Sandusky was arrested and released on a $100,000 unsecured bail. The charges carry a maximum combined penalty of 373 years in prison. Two university officials, Curley and Schultz, are each charged with one count of perjury for testimony they gave about their knowledge of accusations against Sandusky. The Penn State president at the time, Graham Spanier, said the men had his “unconditional support” and that the allegations against both would be proven groundless.
November 6, 2011: Paterno issues a statement in which he acknowledges being told by McQueary in 2002 of the incident in the shower but that “he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the grand jury report.”
November 9, 2011: Paterno announces he will retire at the end of the 2011 football season, but the university board of trustees later that day says Paterno and university President Spanier have been fired, effective immediately. After the announcement of Paterno’s firing, thousands of students demonstrate in protest.
November 18, 2011: One of Paterno’s sons says the ousted coach has been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer.
November 30, 2011: A new accuser files the first lawsuit against Sandusky, The Second Mile and Penn State. The 29-year-old man says Sandusky sexually abused him more than 100 times. Sandusky has not been criminally charged in this particular case.
December 7, 2011: The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and state police, acting on recommendations from a statewide grand jury, charge Sandusky - already indicted on 40 counts for abusing eight boys - with a further 12 counts of abusing two more boys. Sandusky is arrested again and held on bail of $250,000 in cash.
December 8, 2011: Sandusky posts bail and is released on house arrest, wearing an electronic monitoring device. His wife, Dorothy, issues a statement saying the allegations against Sandusky are “absolutely untrue.”
December 13, 2011: Sandusky abruptly waives his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning his case will go to trial unless there is a plea agreement.
January 22, 2012: Paterno, 85, dies of lung cancer. Days later, his funeral procession through State College attracts thousands. Months later, the Paterno estate receives $5.5 million in severance and Paterno’s pension from Penn State is calculated to be $13.4 million.
February 1-13, 2012: Prosecutors tell the court they want the trial to be heard by a jury from another part of Pennsylvania, not Centre County where Sandusky lives. McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland, who took over the case after Centre County judges recused themselves citing ties to Penn State, denies that request.
March 9, 2012: Federal Insurance Company, hired by The Second Miles to insure its officers, files suit in federal court to stop paying Sandusky’s claims to cover his legal defense. Federal Insurance has so far paid $125,000 to Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola.
March 22-April 9, 2012: Sandusky petitions the court to dismiss all charges against him. Judge Cleland pushes start of trial to June 5 and issues a “gag order” that prevents both sides from talking to the media about the case.
May 3, 2012: Amendola reveals in court filings that more than 18 people have made allegations that they were sexually abused by Sandusky.
May 8-June 1, 2012: Sandusky asks for a further delay in the start of his trial, scheduled to begin with jury selection on June 5, but the judge denies the request. Sandusky also asks for dismissal of charges tied to the alleged abuse of victims 2, 6 and 8.
May 25, 2012: The Second Mile announces plans to close and shift $2.5 million in assets to a Texas charity, Arrow Child & Family Ministries.
Sources: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Centre County grand jury report and Centre County court records.
Reporting by Mark Shade and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Paul Simao