Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno allegedly told former assistant Mike McQueary in 2001 that it wasn’t the first time he’d heard that Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused children, according to a 2011 Pennsylvania state police report obtained by CNN.
According to the police report, McQueary, who went to Paterno after witnessing an alleged act of abuse by Sandusky in 2001, was allegedly told by Paterno that it “was the second complaint of this nature he had received” against Sandusky.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing while serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.
In February 2001, McQueary, who was a graduate assistant coach at the time, went to Paterno the morning after allegedly seeing, according to the police report obtained by CNN, “an extreme sexual act occurring between Sandusky and a young boy” late on a Friday night in a team shower.
According to the police report, McQueary’s account was that “Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face” and that the Hall of Fame coach’s “eyes appeared to well up with tears.”
McQueary also filed a complaint to former university president Graham Spanier, former PSU vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley. The three university officials told Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore, and police were not notified.
A criminal investigation into Sandusky did not begin until a Pennsylvania school district reported another complaint about him in 2008.
The scandal led the university to fire Paterno, who died in 2012, a few months after his firing. He was never charged with a crime, although unsealed depositions by alleged victims said Paterno knew of the abuse as far back as 1976.
Paterno told a grand jury in 2011 that he first learned in 2001 of inappropriate sexual contact by Sandusky involving young boys.
“I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it. You did mention — I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don’t know. I don’t remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor,” Paterno testified.
Paterno told a reporter before his death in early 2012 — just months after Sandusky’s arrest — that the first inkling he had that Sandusky might be abusing children occurred in 2001, though there are records that show high-ranking Penn State officials dealt with a complaint in 1998 by a mother that Sandusky had showered with her son.