Reports: Joe Paterno Knew About Sexual Abuse for Decades

And 6 other coaches had witnessed it as far back as 1976
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2016 9:59 AM CDT
Reports: Joe Paterno Knew About Sexual Abuse for Decades
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012, in 2011.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

According to new reports, legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno may have known about Jerry Sandusky molesting children as far back as 1971—a full 30 years earlier than he had previously claimed. Based on court documents and inside sources, NBC News reports up to six assistant coaches had witnessed "inappropriate behavior" on the part of Sandusky starting in 1976 and lasting through the 1990s. Those court documents state Paterno, who died in 2012, was told about the incident in 1976. Sandusky is currently in prison for molesting 10 boys he met through his charity starting in 1974. The assistant coaches who allegedly saw something years earlier went on to coach in the NFL and at other colleges.

But CNN reports Paterno know about Sandusky raping a 15-year-old even earlier than 1976. A 60-year-old man tells the network Sandusky picked him up when he was hitchhiking in 1971 and sexually assaulted him in a bathroom. That would make him Sandusky's oldest victim. He says his foster parents called Penn State when they found out what happened, and he told Paterno directly. He says Paterno told him to stop making things up or he would call the authorities. The victim was never interviewed as part of Sandusky's trial because the crime exceeded the statute of limitations. While none of the new claims have been proven in a court of law, Penn State's own investigator into the Sandusky case believes Paterno knew about the abuse earlier that he claimed, according to Penn Live. (More Joe Paterno stories.)

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