Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has made his first public comments on the sex abuse charges filed against former Nittany Lion assistant Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky, who was arraigned in Centre County Saturday and released on $100,000 unsecured bail, faces 40 different charges for crimes alleged to have happened from 1995-2005. He retired from the Penn State staff in 1999.
An incident in 2002 allegedly happened in the Penn State football building and was witnessed by a PSU graduate assistant coach. The assistant reported it to Paterno, who in turn reported it to athletic director Tim Curley.
In a prepared statement, Paterno said the following:
If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
"Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.
"As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are."
Paterno offered no comment on Curley, who has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying to the grand jury investiagting Sandusky.