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Coach Sexual Abuse: January 2012 Archives

Paterno says he 'didn't know which way to go' with Sandusky allegations

STATE COLLEGE, PA. -- Joe Paterno sat in a wheelchair at the family kitchen table where he has eaten, prayed and argued for more than a half-century. All around him family members were shouting at each other, yet he was whispering. His voice sounded like wind blowing across a field of winter stalks, rattling the husks. Lung cancer has robbed him of the breath to say all that he wants to about the scandal he still struggles to comprehend, and which ended his career as head football coach at Penn State University. The words come like gusts. "I wanted to build up, not break down," he said. Crowded around the table were his three voluble sons, Scott, Jay, David, daughter Mary Kay, and his wife of 50 years, Sue, all chattering at once. In the middle of the table a Lazy Susan loaded with trays of cornbread and mashed potatoes spun by, swirling fast as the arguments. "If you go hungry, it's your own fault," Paterno likes to say. But Paterno, 85, could not eat. He sipped Pepsi over crushed ice from a cup. Once, it would have been bourbon. His hand showed a tremor, and a wig replaced his once-fine head of black hair. Paterno's hope is that time will be his ally when it comes to judging what he built, versus what broke down. "I'm not 31 years old trying to prove something to anybody," he said. "I know where I am." This is where he is: wracked by radiation and chemotherapy, in a wheelchair with a broken pelvis, and "shocked and saddened" as he struggles to explain a breakdown of devastating proportions. Jerry Sandusky, his former assistant coach at Penn State from 1969 to 1999, is charged with more than 50 counts of sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period. He maintains his innocence. If Sandusky is guilty, "I'm sick about it," Paterno said.

Scandals Test the N.C.A.A.'s Top Rules Enforcer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nearly two weeks after sexual abuse allegations surfaced last month against a former Penn State assistant football coach -- and after myriad law enforcement officials and the Department of Education announced they were investigating the matter -- the national governing body for college athletics sent a letter to the university requesting information about the charges.
The N.C.A.A., the organization that sent the letter, demanded a response by Dec. 16. On Thursday, a day before that deadline arrived, Penn State appealed for more time, saying the N.C.A.A. might find answers to its questions in the findings of the other investigations. Whenever Penn State ultimately provides its official response, the nature of its answers and the penalties it might face as a result will be the latest test for the person with what may be the most Sisyphean job in all of sports: Julie Roe Lach, head of enforcement for the N.C.A.A.

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