It's still not clear what the future holds for Nittany Lions football after a child sex abuse scandal implicated top Penn State officials and placed a former assistant coach behind bars.
That was the message from National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert, who spoke with PBS in his first public comment on the matter during an interview broadcast Monday.Â
Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" regarding NCAA-imposed penalties, adding that he'd "never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university."
"What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide," he said.
A small plane flew around the Penn State campus on Tuesday carrying a banner that read, "Take the Statue Down or We Will," a reference to the statue of former head football coach Joe Paterno that sits outside Beaver Stadium.
The statue is among many vestiges left from Paterno's 46 years as head coach of the Nittany Lions, a run that ended in disgrace in November when he was fired in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
"I'm a Penn State employee that thinks we have failed miserably, and I'm sad for the damage that has been done, but this is just upsetting," Diane Farley, a PSU alumnus who spotted the plane on Tuesday told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. "It's just stirring up everything."
Many people are calling for the Paterno statue to be torn down.
In an ESPN poll, more than 60% of respondents said the statue should be removed immediately or sometime before the 2012 football season commences.
A Penn State student group eliminated another Paterno vestige on Monday, renaming the encampment where students line up overnight to get the best seats for football games, from Paternoville to Nittanyville.
The action comes after a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh last week that found that several school officials had "empowered" Sandusky to continue sexually abusing minors. Paterno could have stopped the attacks had he done more, Freeh concluded.
Sandusky was convicted last month of sexually abusing children over 15 years, with much of the abuse occurring on the Penn State campus. He is awaiting sentencing.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January at the age of 85, two months after he was fired because of the Sandusky scandal.
In his 46 years as head coach at Penn State, Paterno achieved mythic status. But with the release of the Freeh report, many no longer want the symbols of that status, including the name of the encampment, to have such prominence in the university community.
"Now, it's a new era of Nittany Lion football," Troy Weller, a Penn State senior and president of the newly retitled Nittanyville Coordination Committee, said in a statement Monday. "And by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it."
Police are aware of three men who say they were abused in the 1970s orÂ 1980s by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, CNNÂ contributor Sara Ganim reports for the Harrisburg Patriot News.
The allegations are the first to involve claims of abuse by the coach before the 1990s. During Sandusky's child rape trial, his defense argued that it is rare for someone toÂ suddenlyÂ become a pedophile in their later years.
After a three-week trial featuring emotional and often graphic testimony from eight of the former Penn State assistant football coach's victims, a 12-person jury late Friday night convicted him on 45 of 48 counts. There were convictions related to all 10 victims alleged by prosecutors, with the three not-guilty verdicts applying to three individuals.
The verdict prompted people in central Pennsylvania to breathe a sigh of relief, believing a man many called a "monster" would pay the price for his crimes and their impact on his victims, as well as the Penn State community.
As the jury was deliberating, more accusers - including his own adopted son - were speaking publicly for the first time about alleged abuse.
More on Penn State scandal:FULL STORY
In 1986, Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old freshman at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, was found dead in her third-floor dorm room. She had been sodomized, tortured, and then strangled with the uncoiled metal of a toy resembling a Slinky, according to media reports.
Clery's parents had sent her to Lehigh because they thought she'd be safe. She'd also been accepted at Tulane University in New Orleans, but after learning a student there had been murdered off campus, the couple began looking for a safer place to send their daughter for college.
It was only after Clery's murder that her parents learned Lehigh had seen 38 violent offenses – rape, robbery and assault among them – in a three-year period, according to a 1990 feature in People magazine.
Constance and Howard Clery later settled with the university for an undisclosed amount and began working to ensure campus crime was a more transparent issue in the future. They opened the Clery Center for Security on Campus and pushed for the 1990 legislation requiring public disclosure of crimes on American campuses.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or Clery Act, is now at the center of the investigation into what Penn State University officials did or didn't do after hearing allegations that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting boys.
In a scathing internal review that blasts the upper echelons of the school's administration, investigators cited several failures to disclose information to police by a university leadership that the report said was more concerned about bad publicity than the sex-crime victims who had been molested on campus.
The review also reported "a lack of awareness of child abuse issues, the Clery Act, and whistle-blower policies and protections."
Penn State University bashers and supporters alike took to Twitter and Facebook on Thursday when the report on an internal probe into the school's child sex abuse scandal was released.
Lavar Arrington, a former Penn State player, responded on Twitter after reading the report.
all in the report are culpable starting with the president-vice pres-ad-head coach-bot all involved should've and should be removed—
LaVar Leap Arrington (@LaVarArrington) July 12, 2012
The probe found that top university officials, including former President Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno, concealed child sex abuse by ex-assistant football coach Jerry SanduskyÂ and showed a "total and consistent disregard" for his victims. The concealment was meant to "avoid the consequences of bad publicity," the report said.
The probe's leader, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, said that ex-athletic director Tim Curley consulted with Paterno following allegations against Sandusky and "they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities."
This, the report found, resulted in a failure to protect Sandusky's victims or warn the public about his behavior.
Heated conversations immediately began on Penn State's Facebook page.
"The only important part of that report are the recommendations for the FUTURE! We need to all take a lesson from this, learn from some mistakes and use the recommendations to move on to make PSU a stronger place. It makes no sense discussing what happened in the past and what emails were sent. Complaining about the past does not make for a strong future!" Joey Schwartz wrote.
The following is a statement from the family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, following Thursday's release of an internal report criticizing Penn State's handling of child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky:
"We are in the process of reviewing the Freeh report and will need some time before we can comment in depth on its findings and conclusions. From the moment this crisis broke, Joe Paterno supported a comprehensive, fair investigation. He always believed, as we do, that the full truth should be uncovered.
"From what we have been able to assess at this time, it appears that after reviewing 3 million documents and conducting more than 400 interviews, the underlying facts as summarized in the report are almost entirely consistent with what we understood them to be. The 1998 incident was reported to law enforcement and investigated. Joe Paterno reported what he was told about the 2001 incident to Penn State authorities and he believed it would be fully investigated. The investigation also confirmed that Sandusky's retirement in 1999 was unrelated to these events.
"One great risk in this situation is a replaying of events from the last 15 years or so in a way that makes it look obvious what everyone must have known and should have done. The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept. The far more realistic conclusion is that many people didn't fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. Sandusky was a great deceiver. He fooled everyone – law enforcement, his family, coaches, players, neighbors, University officials, and everyone at Second Mile.
"Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.
"We appreciate the effort that was put into this investigation. The issue we have with some of the conclusions is that they represent a judgment on motives and intentions and we think this is impossible. We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator. Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001.
"It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further. He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs. We accept this criticism. At the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children. Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated.
"This didn't happen and everyone shares the responsibility."
An internal probe into the Penn State child sex abuse scandal found that top university officials, including former president Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno, concealedÂ evidence of abuse by ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
An effort to avoid bad publicity "is the most significant, but not the only, cause for this failure to protect child victims and report to authorities," the investigation found.
Spanier and Paterno, as well as former university vice president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, participated in "an active decision to conceal" allegations against Sandusky, the probe's leader told reporters Thursday. Additionally, the report says the officials failed to inquire about the victims' well-being, even failing to try to identify a boy who allegedly was sexually assaulted in a Penn State shower in 2001.
Also, Penn State officials were poised to report that February 2001 sex abuse allegation, but they "changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities" after Curley consulted with Paterno, the head of the probe, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, told reporters.
The 267-page findings of the Penn State-funded internal reviewÂ were released Thursday morning. The report focuses on what school officials knew about Sandusky's behavior. The scandal led some people to claim the school put its reputation ahead of protecting potential child victims.
A jury last month convicted Sandusky, 68, the Nittany Lions' former defensive coordinator, on multiple charges of sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years.
Here is a running log of the Thursday's developments:
[Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET] Around the time that Nike was announcing that it was changing the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center on Nike's campus in Beaverton, Oregon (see 1:46 p.m. entry), Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight released this statement:
â€śOther than my parents, my college coach, Bill Bowerman, was the biggest influence in my life. Bill Bowerman and Joe Paterno shared some great qualities. Throughout Joe Paternoâ€™s career, he strived to put young athletes in a position to succeed and win in sport but most importantly in life. Joe influenced thousands of young men to become better leaders, fathers and husbands.
"According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains.â€ť
â€“ Phil Knight, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, NIKE, Inc.
[Updated at 1:46 p.m. ET] The president of Nike Inc. has announced that the firm is changing the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center, a child care center at the Nike headquarters near Beaverton, Oregon, in the light of the Freeh report.
"I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State," Mark Parker said.
[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] As promised, here is the link to the Paterno family's full statement.
[Updated at 11:38 a.m. ET] Another key point from the Paterno family statement: "We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator. Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001."
A link to the full statement is coming.
[Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET] Paterno's relatives say that although they will need some time to read the report before they can comment in depth, they accept the criticism that Paterno could have done more, but "at the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children."
"Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated," Paterno's family said in a statement.
The statement adds: "Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions."
Matt Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky's adopted children, has said that he was molested by the former Penn State defensive coordinator, according to a statement from his lawyers.
The allegation comes as Sandusky is awaiting the verdict in his child rape trial. Matt Sandusky, who has defended his father as he faced child rape charges, said through his attorneys Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici that he met with prosecutors this week to tell them he was a victim for the first time.
"During the trial, Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice andÂ assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in thisÂ case that he is a victim of Jerry Sanduskyâ€™s abuse," Matt Sandusky's lawyers said in a statement obtained by InSession. "At Mattâ€™s request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and theÂ prosecutors and investigators."
No further details were released about the circumstances surrounding the alleged molestation or when Matt Sandusky claims the abuse occurred.
"This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us toÂ convey his request that the media respect his privacy," a statement from Matt Sandusky's lawyer said. "There will be no further commentÂ at this time."
Sandusky is currently facing accusationsÂ of sexual abuse from 10 alleged victims.Â Sandusky, 68, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child sex abuse over a 15-year period. He faces 48 counts in the trial.
During closing arguments, defense attorney Joe Amendola sought to poke holes in the prosecution's case, pointing to inconsistencies with the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former graduate student and assistant coach who said he saw Sandusky apparently sodomizing a boy in a university shower.
He also reminded jurors of the lack of physical evidence and accused the alleged victims of conspiring for financial gain while blaming the media for what he described as biased coverage.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan followed Amendola, rebuffing the defense's account of a coordinated action among Sandusky's accusers allegedly bent on financial gain.
"The great thing about conspiracy theories is you just let them go on and on, until they collapse under their own weight," he said.
McGettigan described the former coach as a pedophile who systematically preyed on his victims with a calculated and repeated approach.
"The Commonwealth has overwhelming evidence against Mr. Sandusky," he said.
Closing arguments are set for Thursday morning in the child-rape trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky after his defense rested its case without calling Sandusky to the witness stand.
Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Defense attorney Joe Amendola had told reporters earlier to "stay tuned" to see whether the onetime Penn State defensive coordinator would testify - a move that could have given prosecutors an opening to introduce new evidence against the former coach.
Over four days, several prosecution witnesses testified that Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts with him in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches' locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home. One told jurors that Sandusky - whom he met, like many of the accusers, through a charity for disadvantaged youths that the ex-coach founded - had threatened him if he told others about the abuse.
But Sanduskyâ€™s wife Dottie testified Tuesday that she could remember at least six of her husband's accusers staying overnight at their house, and said she did not witness any sexual abuse. And former Penn State coach Richard Anderson said it was not uncommon for coaches and youths to use the shower at the same time, and that he had never seen anything inappropriate between Sandusky and a child.FULL STORY
The child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky will resume Wednesday with attention focused on whether the former Penn State defensive coordinator will take the stand.
Wednesday is likely to offer the last opportunity for the defendant to testify, since Judge John Cleland informed the jury Tuesday afternoon that he expects the defense to rest its case by lunchtime.
Sandusky is fully prepped and ready to testify, according to a person with knowledge of the case. Whether he will actually take the stand won't be decided until the final defense witnesses testify Wednesday, the person added.
Sandusky's attorney told reporters Tuesday to "stay tuned" to see if his client will testify in a case that has upended Penn State University and its football program.
"You have to wait," attorney Joe Amendola said just before entering the Pennsylvania courthouse and calling witnesses for a second day.
Sandusky, 68, is on trial on 51 counts related to accusations of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year span. He has denied the charges.FULL STORY
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky – on trial this week on child rape allegationsÂ – has made many public comments about the case, including that while he may have "horsed around" with boys, he's innocent of the charges.
The comments came in the months before the trial - including a newly released, previously un-aired excerpt from a November NBC interview in which he said, while explaining that he had helped many young people through a charity he founded, that he "didnâ€™t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that Iâ€™ve helped."
The trial began last week with the testimony of eight men who accuse him of sexually abusing them when they were boys. Over four days, several testified that Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts with him in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches' locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home.
Sandusky, who has pleaded not guilty, has admitted showering with boys – some of whom he allegedly met through the charity he created for underprivileged children – but denies the child-sex accusations.
Here is what Sandusky has said publicly in the months before the trial:
Aired portions of NBC interview: I 'horsed around,' but am innocent
On November 14 – days after a graphic 23-page grand jury report detailing some of the allegations was released – Sandusky told NBC's Bob Costas in a phone interview thatÂ he was "innocent" of the charges and claimed that the only thing he did wrong was having "showered with those kids."
â€śI say that I am innocent of those charges,â€ť Sandusky told Costas during the interview, which was aired on NBC's "Rock Center With Brian Williams."
Costas pressed. "Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?" Costas said.
Sandusky responded:Â â€śI could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have touched their leg - without intent of sexual contact.â€ť
Costas also asked: "Are you sexually attracted to underage boys?"
Sandusky repeated the question, paused, and responded, "No. I enjoy young people."
High-ranking officials at Penn State are accused of giving inconsistent testimony to a grand jury as well as not turning over a secret file containing allegations that Jerry Sandusky was acting inappropriately, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
"The file was created, maintained and possessed by Gary Schultz," according to the document.
Penn State's former vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, who also oversaw the college's police department,Â and former Athletic Director Tim Curley face charges including perjury and failure to report abuse in the scandal. The court documents say the file contains information that is inconsistent with Schultz's and Curley's previous statements to grand jury regarding the Sandusky case.
"The commonwealth has come into possession of computer data (again, subpoenaed long ago but not received from PSU until after the charges had been filed in this case) in the form of e-mails between Schultz, Curley and others that contradict their testimony before the Grand Jury,â€ť the document states.
The motion filed by the attorney general accuses Pennsylvania State University officials of keeping aÂ file with previously unknown details about the child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky. The attorney general's office claims the officials alsoÂ withheld subpoenaed evidence.
CNN's Susan Candiotti reports that the documents bring up questions about what school officials knew about allegations against Sandusky, when they knew it and what they told authorities during their investigation.
The details emerged on the second day of Sandusky's trial, when the the alleged victim whose allegations triggered the criminal investigation is expected to take the stand.Â He is one of 10 boys who, prosecutors say, were sexually abused by the Nittany Lions' longtime defensive coordinator over a span of 15 years. Sandusky's trial on 52 charges is expected to continue for about three weeks.
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with child rape, may take the stand at his trial, his defense attorney suggested Monday in his opening statements.
Joe Amendola told jurors that Sandusky routinely "got showers with kids" after working out and that he would say so later.
Sandusky, 68, has been under house arrest since being charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of at least 15 years. Prosecutors allege that he met some of his accusers through Second Mile, a charity he created for underprivileged children. He has pleaded not guilty.FULL STORY
About 100 more potential jurors are expected to show up for questioning Wednesday as attorneys select a jury in the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with child rape.
Nine jurors have already been chosen for the panel. The five men and four women include an engineer, a high school teacher, a doctor, a retired Penn State professor, a retired school bus driver and a Penn State student who works part-time for the university's athletic department.
About 220 potential jurors reported for duty Tuesday, after the court whittled the number to about 600 based on answers to questionnaires sent to prospective jurors' homes. Of those, about half were sent home and asked to return Wednesday.FULL STORY
Jury selection in the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with child rape, began Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
Proceedings started about 35 minutes later because of a conference between Judge John Cleland and attorneys. About 220 potential jurors reported for duty, called to arrive after the court whittled down the number from about 600 based on answers to questionnaires sent to prospective jurors' homes.
A judge last week denied Sandusky's attorneys' latest bid for a delay, allowing the case to move forward.FULL STORY
A judge Monday denied a request to postpone Jerry Sandusky's trial on allegations of sexually assaulting young victims over 14 years.
The trial of the former Penn State assistant football coach is scheduled to begin on June 5.
Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, filed a motion earlier this month asking for the trial to be delayed.
Judge John Cleland denied the motion in a brief written ruling Monday.FULL STORY
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky briefly appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom Thursday before the judge adjourned the hearing, saying that court decisions will be postponed because the grand jury investigation is still ongoing.
Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge John Cleland said deliberations Thursday would be "premature," after Sandusky's attorney called for child sex abuse charges to be dropped over a lack of more specific evidence regarding the alleged victims.
Attorney Joe Amendola also withdrew motions accusing police of entering Sandusky's home illegally.FULL STORY
Joe Paterno was fired as head coach of the Penn State football team because the university's board of trustees thought he failed to take his knowledge of a scandal at the school to the appropriate authorities, the board said in a report posted online Monday.
The trustees said they based their decision to fire Paterno heavily on testimony he gave to a grand jury about allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.
During testimony, Paterno said that he was told by aÂ graduateÂ assistant that Sandusky was in the showers "fondling orÂ doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."
"While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police," said the report explaining Paterno's firing. "We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno."
The head coach died in January at the age of 85.
Paterno's family released a statement saying they felt the report was an attempt to deflect criticism from the university.
"The Paterno family is surprised and saddened that the Board of Trustees believes it is necessary and appropriate to explain – for the fourth or fifth time – why they fired Joe Paterno so suddenly and unjustifiably on Nov 9, 2011," they said. "The latest statement is yet another attempt by the Board to deflect criticism of their leadership by trying to focus the blame on Joe Paterno.
"This is not fair to Joe's legacy; it is not consistent with the facts; and it does not serve the best interests of the University. The Board's latest statement reaffirms that they did not conduct a thorough investigation of their own and engaged in a rush to judgment."
In their report, the trustees said they spent hours during the course of a week discussing how they should react to the scandal and who needed to be held responsible. The board fired Penn State PresidentÂ Graham Spanier alongÂ withÂ Paterno.
"We determined on Nov. 9 that Dr. Spanier should be removed because he failed to meet his leadership responsibilities to the Board and took insufficient action" after learning about the incident, the board said in its report.Â "This failure of leadership included insufficiently informing the Board about his knowledge of the 2002 incident. He also made or was involved in press announcements between Nov. 5-9 that were without authorization of the Board or contrary to its instructions."
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Monday that the former Penn State assistant football coach currently awaiting trial on child sex assault charges can visit with some of his grandchildren.
The decision by Judge John Cleland eases some conditions of Jerry Sandusky's house arrest, which had forbidden him from interacting with his grandchildren.
Sandusky will still be prohibited from visiting with three grandchildren who are currently involved in custody litigation, Cleland ruled.FULL STORY
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, being treated for lung cancer, is in serious condition, a family spokesman said Saturday.
"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious," spokesman Dan McGinn said. "His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time."FULL STORY