Two Penn State University officials have stepped down amidst allegations that they covered up a child sex abuse scandal involving former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and school administrator Gary Schultz announced that they were both stepping down from their positions after an executive session of Penn State's Board of Trustees on Sunday. Their decision follows the arrest Saturday of Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing eight boys in a program he started for at-risk kids.
Both Curley and Schultz are being charged with perjury for allegedly not alerting police when they learned that Sandusky had allegedly sexually abused a young boy in a locker room shower in 2002. They are scheduled to surrender themselves to police Monday.
Penn State President Graham Spanier made a statement late Sunday that Curley had requested he be placed on administrative leave so he can deal with the allegations, while Schultz will be going back into retirement, The Associated Press reported.
"The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly," Spanier said in a statement issued Saturday. "Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance."
Spanier said Curley and Schultz have his "unconditional support," but state prosecutors say the university failed to follow up on the allegations or to notify police.
Sandusky, once known for grooming star players for the Penn State Nittany Lions, was considered both a possible successor to legendary head coach Joe Paterno and a pillar of the community. He is now free on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on Nov. 9, but has been banned from the university campus. He faces life behind bars if convicted.
According to an explicit grand jury indictment Sandusky used his position to recruit young, male victims -- many of whom he allegedly assaulted in campus facilities.
According to the report, in 2002 a graduate assistant said he saw Sandusky having sex with a boy in the showers at the team's practice center. The assistant went to head coach Joe Paterno -- a man who has staked his reputation on running a program known for ethics and integrity -- and Paterno in turn relayed the incident to Curley.
Curley never reported the incident to police, while Sandusky continued to work with children and allegedly continued to abuse several minors over the following years.
On Saturday Sandusky was arrested and charged with 40 counts of sex crimes against eight boys. When questioned at his home by ABC News about the scandal, Sandusky said he was not at liberty to speak about the allegations.
"The situation is in the courts and I'm not to make any comments," he told ABC News. "Unfortunately, unfortunately I'm not in the position to make any statements."
His attorney says Sandusky has maintained his innocence.
"He's very distraught about the charges, the allegations and the knowledge that regardless of whether he eventually proves his guilt or innocence people are going to think that he did this," attorney Joe Amendola said.
No criminal charges have been filed against Paterno -- who just one week ago became the most-winning coach in division one history.
"Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury," state attorney general's office spokesman Nils Frederiksen told The Associated Press. "He's not a suspect."
On Sunday afternoon Paterno released a statement to the press via his son Scott.
"The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling," Paterno said in the statement. "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."
"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 said.
In the statement Paterno acknowledges that he was made aware of the situation by the assistant coach in 2002, and that he passed on the information to Curley. Scott Paterno said in an interview that his father never spoke to Sandusky about the allegation and after referring the report of the incident to authorities did not discuss it again, according to The New York Times.
"It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw," Paterno said. "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."
Alleged Years of Abuse
Sandusky, 67, continued to use the team's practice facilities after his retirement in 1999 to work with underprivileged boys through a foundation he started called Second Mile.
The retired coach would allegedly use expensive gifts and trips to maintain contact with his victims, who were as young as 10 years old when the alleged abuse began, according to the investigation.
Sandusky allegedly also used his volunteer coaching job at a Pennsylvania high school, from which he was barred in 2009, to continue preying on a victim he had been abusing for years, the grand jury report said.
He would call the boy out of class for unsupervised meetings during the day, according to school officials. A wrestling coach also testified to the grand jury that he encountered the victim and Sandusky lying face to face in a secluded weight room one evening.
The boy's mother reported her suspicions to the school and police were alerted. Thus began a two-year investigation that led to Sandusky's arrest Saturday on 40 counts that even if found guilty on one, could send him to prison for the rest of his life.
If the charges against the Penn State officials are proven to be true, the university's lack of action would be a shocking contrast to the high school's quick response.
"What happens is self-preservation sets in and when people have this type of information, they just deny it's actually occurring because they're concerned about it affecting their career," former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett said.
Attorneys for all three men said their clients were not guilty.