August 16, 2012 10:30 AM
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Joe Paterno sobbed while meeting with Penn State coaches after he was fired, book says
(AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno sobbed while meeting with his coaches and a former player the day after he was fired from Penn State, according to an excerpt of an upcoming on Paterno to be published in GQ magazine.
"My name," the Hall of Fame coach was quoted in the excerpt as telling his son and quarterback coach, Jay. "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone."
Paterno was fired by school trustees in November in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. He died in January at age 85.
Paterno had granted access to journalist Joe Posnanski in 2011 to write a biography. The September issue of GQ features an exclusive excerpt, and the biography will be available in bookstores on Tuesday.
The excerpt described the frantic period on campus after Sandusky's arrest on Nov. 5 following a state grand jury indictment. Another of Paterno's sons, lawyer and lobbyist Scott Paterno, was described as the first member of the family to see the potential that the grand jury report could end his father's career.
At the time, Joe Paterno was coming off his 409th career win, which then made him Division I's winningest coach. The NCAA last month vacated 111 of Paterno's victories as part of sanctions against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal.
"Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game," Scott Paterno was quoted as telling his father after reading the grand jury report.
Joe Paterno's relationship with the trustees began to sour after the coach rebuffed suggestions to step down in 2004 from school president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley. Penn State had just one winning season in five years before Paterno revived the program in 2005 by winning the Big Ten and the Orange Bowl, 26-23 in a triple-overtime classic over Florida State and coaching contemporary Bobby Bowden.
After the scandal broke, the family hired a public relations specialist who at one point asked Penn State football communications and marketing assistant Guido D'Elia for the name of one person on the board to try to negotiate a gracious ending, according to the excerpt.
D'Elia, one of Paterno's closest advisers, shook his head and referred to the coach's 2004 encounter with administrators. "The board started to turn," D'Elia was quoted as saying. "We don't have anybody on the board now."
Paterno, along with Spanier, was ousted Nov. 9. They have not been charged with any crimes.
Curley is on leave after he and now-retired school administrator Gary Schultz were charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to report an abuse allegation.
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing in jail after being convicted in June on 45 criminal counts involving 10 boys.
August 17, 2012 11:32 PM
Family pushed Paterno to read Sandusky report
(AP) Joe Paterno had to be prodded by his family to read the grand jury report regarding Jerry Sandusky and did not understand some of its graphic terminology, according to a new book.
The book, "Paterno" by Joe Posnanski, was purchased Friday by The Associated Press in advance of its release next week.
In the book, Posnanski describes a scene at Paterno's home, two days after Sandusky had been charged with child sex abuse last November. Paterno's family and a close adviser were trying to explain to the Penn State coach that there was a growing sentiment Paterno must have known for years about the accusations against Sandusky.
The book quotes Paterno as shouting "I'm not omniscient!"
Paterno did not want to read the report, but family members and Penn State football communications and marketing assistant Guido D'Elia insisted that he must.
The book also indicates Paterno didn't comprehend all the terms in the report, asking his son what sodomy meant.
According to the book, later that night Paterno's son, Scott, told his mother that she should brace herself for the possibility that Joe could be fired.
Sue Paterno responded, "Scotty, that will kill him."
Paterno was fired by school trustees two days later, on Nov. 9. He died in January at age 85 of cancer.
Sandusky, Paterno's longtime defensive coordinator, is jailed and awaiting sentencing after being convicted in June on 45 criminal counts involving 10 boys.
Former Athletic director Tim Curley and now-retired school administrator Gary Schultz are awaiting trial on charges of lying to a grand jury and failing to report the abuse allegations against Sandusky.
Paterno was not charged, though the NCAA last month slammed his beloved football program with a range of tough sanctions. Among them, the Nittany Lions were forced to vacate 112 wins from 1998-2011, meaning Paterno no longer has the most coaching victories in major college football.
The penalty seemed to grow from a report commissioned by the school from former FBI director Louis Freeh. It said Paterno, Curley, Schultz and former school president Graham Spanier concealed allegations against Sandusky dating back to 1998. Paterno's family and the three officials have all vehemently denied the conclusions.
Paterno had granted access to Posnanski to write a biography in 2011, well before Sandusky was charged.
"Nobody would argue — and certainly my book does not argue — that the good Joe Paterno did in his life should shield him from the horrors of his mistakes," Posnanski wrote in a column for USA Today earlier this week. "Some would argue, especially in the white-hot emotion sparked by the latest revelations, that Paterno's role in the Jerry Sandusky crimes invalidates whatever good he might have done. My book does not argue that either. My book, I believe, lets the reader make up his or her own mind."
The book also details the long and frosty relationship Paterno had with Sandusky while they worked together at Penn State.
According to the book, the two were never friendly and late in Sandusky's tenure, Paterno felt the defense was not performing well and neither was Sandusky.
Paterno did not want to fire Sandusky because he was so popular in the community and with fans, according to the book. The book indicates that Sandusky showed interest in taking an early retirement in 1999, and Paterno encouraged him to do so and let his assistant know he would not be the next head coach at Penn State.
Sandusky and Curley negotiated a retirement package, and among Sandusky's demands was to stay on through the 1999 season.
The book indicates Paterno reluctantly agreed, and then regretted the decision when the team, which was considered one of the national championship favorites going into the season and reached No. 2 in the nation, lost three games late in the year with an underperforming defense.
Sandusky's early retirement at age 55 has led to speculation that a 1998 allegation by a boy against Sandusky that was never prosecuted by authorities led to Penn State quietly pushing Sandusky out.
Paterno told a grand jury he was unaware of that allegation but evidence uncovered by Freeh report investigators suggest that he did.
According to the book, Paterno, who obsessively took and kept handwritten notes, had no notes in his files that mentioned the investigation.
Sales of Paterno biography at Penn State start slowly
By Jessica Tully, Special for USA TODAY
Updated 1d 20h ago
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Eager Penn State students shuffled through rows of bookshelves Tuesday, selecting textbooks and supplies for the upcoming semester. Fifty feet away, a shelf filled with copies of the newly released book, Paterno, was nearly untouched.
A manager at the on-campus Penn State Bookstore who declined to be identified said he sold 30 to 40 copies of the Joe Paterno biography, written by Joe Posnanski— who also writes for Sports on Earth, a joint venture between the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and MLB Advanced Media— throughout the day. Most of those buying the book were non-students, he said.
The manager attributed the lukewarm interest in the book to the lack of students currently on campus. Fall classes begin Monday. He also said that students are trying to move on from the scandal, and that the overwhelming news media coverage over the last 10 months has been a lot to digest.
Although the book has been widely publicized because of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, most of the biography is not about that. Posnanski was living in State College working on Paterno long before the events of last November at Penn State, and the book reflects that time line.
Only one chapter, titled "Sandusky," discusses the scandal that cost Paterno his reputation and job. The rest of the book paints a story of a boy from Brooklyn, N.Y., who ended up becoming the winningest coach in major college football — until NCAA sanctions announced in July erased 111 of his wins.
About 40 students and area residents traveled to the Student Bookstore, which is independent from the university, Tuesday morning to purchase the biography, said general manager John Lindo. The store only had 40 copies in stock Tuesday but is expecting to have at least 80 available today.
Lindo said most of the customers have been non-students, but he anticipates more students will read as soon as they return to campus at the end of the week. Lindo said it is important for students to be able to hear all sides of the story, so he said he is glad to be selling the book.
August 22, 2012 3:53 PM
Ousted Penn State president Graham Spanier blasts "unfair" Freeh report
(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier and his lawyers attacked the university-backed report on the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal Wednesday, calling it a "blundering and indefensible indictment" as they went on the offensive while they await word on whether he'll be charged in the case.
Lawyer Timothy Lewis called Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and federal judge, a "biased investigator" who piled speculation on top of innuendo to reach pre-formed conclusions.
"The Freeh report, as it pertains to Dr. Spanier, is a myth. And that myth ... ends today," Lewis said at a downtown Philadelphia news conference.
Spanier did not attend, but told media outlets in stories published hours later that he never understood early complaints about Sandusky to be sexual. Sandusky was convicted this year of molesting 10 boys and awaits sentencing.
"I'm very stunned by Freeh's conclusion that — I don't think he used the word `cover-up'; but he uses the word `concealed,"' Spanier told The New Yorker magazine. "Why on earth would anybody cover up for a known child predator? Adverse publicity? For heaven's sake! Every day I had to make some decision that got adverse publicity."
The New Yorker interview was published online after ABC News began promoting its own interview with Spanier, set to air in parts on several of its networks Wednesday and Thursday.
"The Freeh report is wrong, it's unfair, it is deeply flawed, it has many errors and omissions," Spanier told the New Yorker, adding that many of the people interviewed for the report described those interviews to him as a "witch-hunt."
At the news conference, Lewis, also a former federal judge, complained that Freeh never interviewed key witnesses, ignored inconvenient facts and manipulated the truth.
For instance, he said, the report assumes former graduate assistant Mike McQueary told coach Joe Paterno in 2001 that he saw something sexual in a locker room shower, and that Paterno echoed that to athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz. Freeh likewise assumes that they in turn told Spanier the same thing.
"Curley and Schultz have denied that they ever told Dr. Spanier anything of the sort," Lewis said. "`Horseplay' was referred to over and over again, but never with any sexual connotation or suggestion of abuse. But Judge Freeh paid no attention to that."
The Freeh group said Wednesday that it stands by its report.
Its investigation uncovered documents that suggest Spanier had deeper knowledge of the early Sandusky complaints, including an email in which the president appeared to agree with Curley's decision to keep the 2001 assault from child-welfare authorities, and instead work directly with Sandusky and Sandusky's charity for at-risk youths.
"The only downside for us is if the message isn't `heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," said Spanier's email, dated Feb. 27, 2001. "The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."
Spanier's lawyers said Freeh took the email out of context.
As for the 1998 report that Sandusky had showered with a boy — a complaint that led to a campus police investigation referred to county prosecutors — Spanier's lawyers note that prosecutors declined to charge Sandusky.
"There was thus nothing to conceal," they wrote in a rebuttal to the report.
Spanier and Paterno were fired in November, a few days after Sandusky was charged. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse. Spanier's lawyers said they don't know whether he will be charged.
"That's out of our control," lawyer Jack Riley said.
A spokesman in the attorney general's office has declined to comment on possible charges, while calling the Sandusky probe "ongoing and active."
University trustee Anthony Lubrano, who attended the law firm news conference, said the board has never adopted Freeh's report, unlike current university President Rodney Erickson.
"I'd love for us to come out with a statement that says, we've never accepted this report," Lubrano said.
With Erickson's approval, the university has agreed to pay $60 million in NCAA fines over the scandal.
Spanier, who remains a tenured faculty member at Penn State, has told trustees he would never cover up abuse because he himself had been physically abused as a boy by his father, as a form of discipline.
"Someday I hope to have my name completely cleared when it becomes evident that this was unfair and untrue," Spanier told The New Yorker.
Penn State trustees focus on future
6:17 PM, August 26, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State trustees Sunday ended a two-day meeting on a positive note, swapping ideas about how the university's looming football season opener could be used as the vehicle for a public-relations extravaganza.
A presentation by the board's hired public relations consultant sparked a spontaneous discussion about the image-rebuilding potential of the Sept. 1 home game against Ohio University, which trustees said is likely to draw disproportionately heavy national media attention in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Anthony Lubrano and several fellow trustees urged displaying messages on the scoreboard, buying advertisements and other gimmicks during the game to remind fans not only of Penn State's athletics milestones, but its solid academic reputation.
"When they walk into the stadium why not prominently display those successes?" Lubrano asked the board. "This isn't football, we're an academic institution. Why not display that?"
"We'll have a captive audience," said trustee Kenneth Frazier.
Lubrano brought up the Ohio game after New York public-relations executive Richard Edelman outlined his firm's multifaceted campaign to repair the university's image. It includes a "Faces of Penn State" piece that will promote individual students, professors and alumni on posters, Internet postings and a video slated to debut during the game.
Trustees also discussed ongoing preparations to recruit a successor to Penn State President Rodney Erickson, who plans to step down when his present contract expires June 30, 2014.
The search for the next president is slated to begin in early 2013 with the goal of selecting Erickson's successor by early 2014. Erickson said he would not participate in the search but urged the trustees to "cast your net broadly" and seek input from diverse sources including students, faculty and alumni.
"I think this could well be one of the most defining activities of the university that will take place for many years to come," said Erickson, who was appointed to succeed Graham Spanier after the trustees forced him out in November for his handling of the Sandusky scandal.
Sandusky, a longtime Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June on 45 counts of abusing 10 boys, some on the Penn State campus. He is in jail, awaiting sentencing.
On Friday, a young man whose 2009 allegations of sexual abuse led to the Penn State scandal and Sandusky's convictions filed a lawsuit against Penn State. Lawyers for other alleged victims have also suggested that they plan legal action.
Former Penn State administrator Gary Schultz and athletics director Tim Curley, who is on leave, have pleaded innocent to charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. They are awaiting trial.
Longtime football coach Joe Paterno, who also was ousted, died of lung cancer in January. Neither he nor Spanier was charged.
On multiple fronts, the trustees have their work cut out for them. But board chairwoman Karen Peetz sought to put the best face on the situation as the trustees headed home two hours earlier than scheduled.
"We've been through a lot in the last two months, but I think what you can feel is the momentum and the focus on the future and the focus on students," she said.
Discussion was limited Sunday about the implementation of changes recommended in a report from former FBI director Louis Freeh, which concluded that top university officials concealed information about sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky to avoid bad publicity.
Also stirring little discussion was an athletic integrity agreement with the NCAA, whose sanctions against Penn State in the case included a $60 million fine and a four-year bowl-game ban.
Another scandal headache: Was Penn State in violation of federal Title IX statutes?
By JUSTIN POPE
Among the legal questions still swirling around Penn State, one has drawn little attention but could pose a threat to the university: Did the school's handling of sex abuse allegations against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky violate the federal Title IX gender discrimination law? Title IX could be in play because the 40-year-old law - most commonly associated with access for girls and women to sports teams - has become the main framework governing how colleges and universities must respond to reports of sexual assault and ensure a safe learning environment for students.
As Penn State tries to move past the scandal after Sandusky's trial, the devastating Freeh Report and unprecedented NCAA penalties - the football team opens play Saturday -Title IX is potentially more than a legal afterthought. The reason: Not only have Title IX lawsuits produced some of the most expensive judgments against universities in recent years, but the law allows for the possibility - however unlikely - that a university's access to all federal dollars could be cut off.
In reality, experts say, it's unimaginable the feds would impose what some call the "academic death penalty" available under Title IX to shut down research and cripple a university that educates and employs tens of thousands of people - in an election-year battleground state, no less - who had no involvement with the scandal. Nor is Penn State's accreditation, also required for receiving federal funds, considered in jeopardy despite a recent warning from its accrediting agency.
But while the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has never cut off a college's access to federal dollars over Title IX compliance, it's also never seen a case like Penn State, with an alleged conspiracy by top university officials to conceal evidence of sexual assault, and with such destructive consequences.
The Obama administration has been aggressively using Title IX to push colleges and universities to take sexual violence on their campuses more seriously, and laid out detailed requirements on compliance last year. At the very least, OCR faces a tough question: If it won't make at least partial use of the hammer Congress handed it to enforce Title IX - in a case alleging such flagrant, longstanding and consequential misconduct by top university officials - is it sending a message to other colleges that it never will?
The strong sanctions imposed on Penn State by the NCAA could also pressure the Department of Education to follow with strong medicine.
"In practice, I don't see how (the NCAA penalty) couldn't influence their thinking," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education. The NCAA's unprecedented sanctions combined with devastating details of Sandusky's serial abuse in the Freeh Report "probably raised the stakes for the other actors who will be looking at Penn State."
Federal student aid (grants and loans) contributed about $700 million to Penn State's $4.3 billion operating budget last year, and federal research more than $470 million. Losing those annual funds would dwarf the $60 million penalty imposed by the NCAA and even Penn State's likely bill from civil lawsuits.
The Education Department has not yet opened a formal Title IX inquiry as part of its broad-based investigation into Penn State, but hasn't ruled it out, said spokesman Justin Hamilton. He confirmed it is evaluating a request, from legal groups including the Women's Sports Foundation and the ACLU, to open a Title IX inquiry. Hamilton said the department, which is already investigating possible violations of the Clery Act for failing to report campus crimes, would investigate "all potential sexual offense issues" at Penn State, including the university's response to sexual assault cases unrelated to Sandusky's.
"I think there's a significant chance (the department) will act at some point, but my best instinct is they will most likely wait to see how some of the criminal investigations unfold first," said Peter Lake, an expert in higher education law at Stetson University College of Law in Florida. He added the department would do its own investigation and wouldn't rely on the Freeh Report, which was commissioned by the university, and whose findings have been vehemently criticized by former Penn State president Graham Spanier.
The circumstances of the Penn State case would make it an unusual Title IX case - notably because Sandusky's victims weren't students or employees. But that doesn't get the university off the hook, says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and senior director of advocacy at the Women's Sports Foundation, one of the groups requesting the Title IX investigation. The law's language protects any "person" from harassment and seems to apply to anyone on campus (such as visiting sports teams), though the guidance is fuzzy.
But if the case is atypical in some ways, Hogshead-Makar and others argue that Title IX's purpose is to forestall the kind of atmosphere described in the Freeh Report: A janitor afraid to report witnessing a sexual assault, administrators quietly handling misconduct reports on their own, and an athletic program addressing discipline outside the normal university procedures. She contends the actions of Penn State's top administrators amount to precisely the kind of "deliberate indifference" that's a key legal standard in Title IX cases.
Lake, the Stetson professor, who had no involvement in the request to OCR, agreed that if the allegations in the Freeh report are true "there's enough evidence to suggest you had a culture that was at least ripe with the potential to do the kinds of things Title IX is designed to prevent."
Furthermore, the groups' request for a Title IX inquiry goes beyond the Sandusky case, for instance referencing a 2002 incident in which a Penn State football player suspended for two semesters was still allowed to play in a January bowl game. The group is asking Penn State to investigate if the university violated civil rights law by treating athletes differently from other students - acceptable for most infractions but explicitly prohibited by Title IX in sexual assault cases.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the university wouldn't speculate on any possible future investigation. She said the university was cooperating with and awaiting the results of a Clery Act audit by the department.
While possible Clery Act violations at Penn State have attracted more attention, Title IX packs a greater potential financial punch. Clery Act fines have reached as high as $350,000 but are capped at $27,500 per infraction. Clery Act violations can also cost schools access to federal financial aid, but in Title IX all federal dollars could be at risk.
Typically, however, OCR Title IX investigations end with resolution agreements in which colleges agree to policy changes - designating Title IX coordinators, publicizing Title IX resources to students. OCR has shown little inclination to punish schools.
But plaintiffs may feel differently. Title IX claims could be attached to civil lawsuits, and judgments in such cases have exploded in recent years. The University of Colorado faced a $2.85 million Title IX verdict stemming from the r/ape of two students by football recruits and players in 2001, with a court holding the university's program created a dangerous culture for sexual assault. That case stemmed from a single incident and victim; Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. The verdict in a California State University-Fresno Title IX discrimination case ran to $19.1 million, though later reduced to $6.6 million.
University of Pittsburgh law professor Deborah Brake said it's unclear whether Penn State litigants would include Title IX claims or that Penn State will take any kind of financial hit stemming from Title IX. But to avoid such a penalty, the university could be forced to make major changes dictated by the OCR, perhaps even accepting outside oversight of sexual assault procedures.
As with the $60 million penalty imposed on Penn State by the NCAA - which the university can't cut sports teams to pay for - any Title IX penalties would come at least indirectly out of the academic side of the university.
"I would like to see it considered," Hogshead-Makar said when asked if she would like to see OCR at least partly deprive Penn State of access to federal dollars. "I would like a serious investigation. If the OCR feels the school has not done enough to comply with federal law then they should do it."
She says Penn State proves the multi-million dollar Title IX verdicts in the Colorado case, plus settlements in other cases such as one involving the University of Georgia's football program, haven't sufficiently scared universities into reining in their athletic programs and taking seriously their obligations to prevent sexual assault.
"I want the message to be strong enough that it sends a message to the entire school," she said. "I want the physics department to make sure they have an investment in making sure athletics is on the straight and narrow."
September 5, 2012 4:25 AM
Penn State's Sandusky-related costs near $17M
(AP) HARRISBURG, Pa. - Penn State's costs for legal fees, consultants and public relations firms hired to help deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal have reached nearly $17 million.
The university said it has spent almost $16.8 million through June 30.
Nearly $10 million of that went to seven firms for what Penn State calls internal investigation and crisis communications. Nearly $4 million went for university legal services and defense.
The university is also facing lawsuits from Sandusky's accusers, while the NCAA leveled a $60 million fine against the school in July.
The school says the costs for the legal defense and public relations are not paid by student tuition, taxpayer funds or donations. It says the costs will be covered by insurance policies or interest payments on loans it makes.
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By: | Associated Press
Published: September 14, 2012 Updated: September 14, 2012 - 2:23 PM
Penn State trustees get update on changes
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The head of Penn State's Board of Trustees says she understands why many alumni are upset with the findings from the school's internal investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal and NCAA sanctions.
But Karen Peetz reaffirmed her support for University President Rodney Erickson's decision to accept the strict penalties, including a four-year bowl ban and a $60 million fine. She urged attendees Friday of a trustees meeting to reconsider Erickson's actions.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh led the school investigation. Peetz says the school hopes to implement recommended changes from Freeh by the end of next year, or reasons for not incorporating any changes.
Peetz says that while the school faces financial challenges including the NCAA fine, the school's financial condition is "solid."
PENN STATE-PRESIDENT SEARCH
Penn St president search to start in November
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The search for Penn State's next president will begin in November.
Board of Trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz told board members at a meeting Friday that the members of the presidential search committee will be announced then, along with a timetable to make a selection.
The current president, Rodney Erickson, took over last November after Graham Spanier left under pressure days after retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges.
Erickson has said since he was promoted from provost that he plans to step down as president when his current contract expires in June 2014.