SCRANTON— Joe Paterno and ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier abdicated their responsibilities in failing to prevent or stop the alleged sexual abuse of children at the hands of a former Nittany Lion assistant coach, a pair of university trustees said.
Trustee Keith Eckel said Thursday that Paterno’s statement expressing regret that he hadn’t “done more” about the alleged abuse by Jerry Sandusky was “probably the most telling as far as us moving forward and looking at the coach,” The Times-Tribune of Scranton reported.
“The trustees expected more,” Eckel said. “It told me that he recognized his stature, his leadership position and that demanded more. The decision of the trustees was not based on the legality. It was based on what we believed was right for the university at that moment and moving forward.”
Another trustee, Barron L. “Boots” Hetherington, told the Pottsville Republican & Herald that neither Paterno nor Spanier rose to the challenge to do the right thing.
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“People did the minimum required by the laws of Pennsylvania but, in most cases, it didn’t pass the moral test,” Hetherington said.
Sandusky is accused of abusing eight boys, some on campus, over 15 years, allegations that were not immediately brought to the attention of authorities even though high-level people at Penn State apparently knew about them.
The scandal has resulted in the ousting of Spanier and Paterno, and has brought shame to one of college football’s legendary programs. Athletic Director Tim Curley has been placed on administrative leave, and Vice President Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the university’s police department, has stepped down.
Schultz and Curley are charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to report to police, and Sandusky is charged with child sex abuse. All maintain their innocence.