Story by Sara Ganim and Bob Flounders
April 1, 2011
Penn State football coaching legend and founder of The Second Mile children's charity Jerry Sandusky never indecently assaulted a teenage boy, his attorney said Thursday.
The statement was released by State College attorney Joe Amendola in response to an article in The Patriot-News that reported, according to five people with knowledge of the case, a grand jury investigation that has been ongoing for 18 months.
No charges have been filed. The boy told Children and Youth Services that Sandusky had inappropriate contact with him over a four-year period, starting when he was 10.
The allegations against Sandusky surfaced in 2009, when he was volunteering as an assistant high school football coach at Central Mountain High School in Clinton County.
The 67-year-old Sandusky, who retired as defensive coordinator for Penn State football after the 1999 season, has known about the investigation since 2009, but was dismayed to read about it in the newspaper, Amendola wrote Thursday.
"Jerry is deeply disappointed in the paper's decision to publish this information prior to any determination by the Attorney General's office that he did anything inappropriate at all," according to the statement.
Should the allegations ever lead to charges, Amendola said, "Jerry fully intends to establish his innocence and put these false allegations to rest forever."
Penn State coach Joe Paterno and athletic director Tim Curley are among those who appeared before the grand jury in January at the attorney general's Strawberry Square office complex in Harrisburg, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.
Amendola's statement also acknowledged a May 1998 police report involving a different boy that was mentioned in Thursday's story. No charges were filed in connection with that report.
According to several sources, the boy, who was 12 at the time, alleged he and Sandusky were showering in the football building on Penn State's campus when the incident took place.
"It is noteworthy that the alleged 1998 incident referred to in the article was investigated by authorities at the time and determined to be unfounded," Amendola wrote.
According to several sources, Rockview state police began calling witnesses concerning that allegation in January.
Grand juries are used as an investigative tool to allow prosecutors to decide if there is enough evidence for criminal charges. They do not decide guilt.
Sandusky retired from Penn State shortly after the Alamo Bowl in December 1999. In his 2000 autobiography, "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story," he says he decided to leave after he "came to the realization I was not destined to become the head football coach at Penn State."
He spent the next 11 years focused on running The Second Mile, a nonprofit he founded in 1977 that reaches 10,000 Pennsylvania youths a year through summer and year-round camp programs. Last fall, Sandusky announced that he was retiring from day-to-day involvement in the charity to spend more time with family and handle personal matters.
In a statement released Thursday, Second Mile President Dr. Jack Raykovitz said members of the organization were "shaken" by the newspaper report.
"We have been advised that neither The Second Mile nor our programs are the subject of any investigation," he wrote.