Both football coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier are out at Penn State in the wake of a disturbing child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach.
Paterno said in a statement Wednesday that he would retire after the season, but the university’s board of trustees met Wednesday night and decided Paterno would not be allowed to continue as coach. Assistant coach Tom Bradley has been named interim coach.
Spanier chose to resign Wednesday and will be replaced temporarily by provost Rodney Erickson.
Paterno has been besieged by criticism since Jerry Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator, was charged over the weekend with 40 criminal counts of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009 through his charitable foundation for at-risk youths, The Second Mile. Sandusky is free on bail and has a Dec. 7 court hearing.
Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz were charged Monday with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported a 2002 assault. The two will seek to have the charges dismissed, their lawyers said. Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote time to his defense, and Schultz will be going back into retirement, the school announced.
The U.S. Department of Education said Wednesday it would investigate whether Penn State violated federal law requiring the disclosure of criminal offenses on campus and warnings of crimes posing a threat to the community in its handling of the allegations. U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., requested the Education Department’s involvement on Tuesday.
“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys. If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “Schools and school officials have a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from violence and abuse.”
Mark C. Sherburne, Curley’s acting replacement as AD, issued a statement Wednesday, saying the school is “devastated” by the allegations in the grand jury presentment against Sandusky.
“Our hearts go out to the children and their families,” he said.