Paterno Fired Amid Child Abuse Scandal

Posted November 10th, 2011 at 1:45 am (UTC-5)
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Iconic U.S. college football coach Joe Paterno has been fired by Pennsylvania State University amid criticism over how he and other school officials handled accusations of child sex abuse by a longtime assistant coach.

The board of trustees at Penn State made the decision late Wednesday to fire the 84-year-old Paterno, who has guided the team to two national championships and won more games than any other coach in major college football history.

Earlier Wednesday, a tearful Paterno offered to retire at the end of the season, saying he wished he “had done more” after learning of the allegations.

In 2002, a graduate assistant informed Paterno that he witnessed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower on the university's campus.

Paterno told college authorities about the allegation, but did not follow up when no action was taken against Sandusky.

Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, is accused of sexually assaulting at least eight boys over the period of more than 10 years. He has denied the charges.

Paterno, who was in his 46th season as coach of the Nittany Lions, is not a target of the criminal investigation.

Two school administrators — senior vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley — have been charged with failing to report the incident to authorities. Both men stepped down over the weekend following rising public outrage over the allegations.

The board on Wednesday also fired the unviersity president Graham Spanier, who has been at the head of the prestigious university for 16 years.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Education Department said it was investigating whether Penn State failed to report incidents of sexual abuse on campus, as required by federal law.