Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno was abruptly dismissed last November by PSU’s Board of Trustees hours after Paterno released a statement saying he would retire at season’s end in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
The decision to relieve the long-time coach of hit duties — especially considering the way in which the decision was reportedly executed — caused an uproar that sparked a surreal scene of rioting that evening.
Paterno spoke to fans and media from his State College home following the announcement of his firing, but outside of an exclusive interview with the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins days before his passing, did not comment publicly on the Sandusky scandal. However, ESPN obtained a copy of the statement that Paterno never got a chance to read at his final press conference that was never held.
Below is the statement in its entirety. HERE is the link to the statement as well.
Let me begin by offering Sue and my prayers for all of the people impacted by these events. I know it is small comfort given the circumstances.
I also understand that there are a lot of questions regarding the events involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. However, because of the status of these ongoing legal matters, I will not speculate or answer questions about the charges or the people involved beyond this brief statement.
As the Grand Jury report notes, I was subpoenaed last January to testify regarding an incident in 2002. As my very brief testimony established, my role was limited to a single report made to me by an assistant coach in 2002. The coach in question came to my house on a Saturday morning and informed me that he witnessed former coach Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a young boy. The coach made it clear that he felt strongly that there was something inappropriate going on and that he was very upset by what he saw. The coach made no specific allegations of any identified sexual act, nor did he use any graphic terms – just the idea that what he saw was wrong and that he did not know what to do next.
At that time I told the coach that he had done the right thing and that I would take the appropriate next step. After consideration I determined that, given Sandusky’s status as a retired employee governed by a retirement package negotiated with the administration, I had no authority to act directly. The next day, in accordance with University policy, I contacted the head of my department and related what was told to me. That was the last time the matter was brought to my attention until this investigation and I assumed that the men I referred it to handled the matter
I know that there are many other questions that people want to ask, but I ask that we all be patient and give the judicial process time to do its deliberate work. Finding the truth is what will benefit the victims most of all, and that is who we should all keep in mind as we deal with this tragedy.
In order to give that process adequate time I will not be answering any questions on this matter, nor will I have further comment, until the legal process is completed.