Posted by Adam Jacobi
It's taken over two years, but a federal grand jury investigation into legendary Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has concluded -- and the 67-year-old coach now faces 40 charges of sex crimes against minors, according to the Patriot-News. And while Sandusky hasn't been a coach at PSU since the end of the 1999 season, the allegations he faces go back as far as 1996.
Sandusky first went in front of the grand jury back in late March of this year, and he wasn't the only one involved with Penn State to come in for questioning; no less than Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, and retired PSU VP Gary Schultz also testified before the grand jury, though it's not known exactly what they told investigators or how germane their testimony was to the cases at hand.
Here's more from the Patriot-News about the nature of the charges against Sandusky:
The charges follow a more-than two year grand jury investigation that began when a Clinton County teen alleged inappropriate contact against the 67-year-old former coach.
During the investigation, older allegations from 1998 surfaced as well. In the older case, Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower.
All in all, the 40 charges include corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children, various indecent assault charges on persons under 16 (and sometimes 13), and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16. Although the alleged offenses don't have specific dates attached to them -- all but one are listed for January 1 -- they go back as far as 1995, according to court records. The other alleged dates of offense stretch as late as 2005, with other alleged offenses interspersed liberally in the 10-year period.
Obviously, Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty, and until that time it would be unfair to him and his family to start casting aspersions against him for what are very serious and disturbing allegations. The fact that this investigation has progressed this far, however, does not bode well for the man once thought to be Penn State's head-coach-in-waiting -- or for the children's charity, The Second Mile, that Sandusky had been involved in since 1977 before stepping down last year.
From a college football standpoint, it's going to be extremely interesting to see if Penn State had any knowledge of Sandusky's alleged transgressions, or if allegations and accusations had made their way to the PSU athletic department while Sandusky was still an employee there. One would hope not, of course, and until specific evidence arises suggesting that, Joe Paterno's legacy shouldn't be in any way tarnished by the news about Sandusky.
That all said, it's now true that for nearly five years, Penn State was employing a man who was allegedly committing indecent assaults on children, so questions absolutely must be asked about what the athletic department knew and when. To suggest otherwise is to put politics ahead of concern for abused children.