Police Report Claims Paterno Knew of Earlier Sandusky Abuse Allegation

When another coach told Paterno he had witnessed Sandusky abusing a young boy, he said it was “the second complaint of this nature he had received,” according to the report.

A newly discovered police report from 2011 suggests that former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno had previously known about the sexual abuse of young boys by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky was found guilty by a jury in 2012 on 45 of 48 counts related to the sexual abuse of ten boys over a 15-year period. There were convictions related to all ten abuse victims, according to CNN. Penn State was also fined $2.4 million over its handling of the case, the largest  ever penalty against a university for Clery Act violations.

Sandusky is serving a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. An appeal is currently pending.

The one-page Pennsylvania state police report, obtained by CNN, alleges that former assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno he had witnessed “an extreme sexual act occurring between Sandusky and a young boy” in a team shower back in 2001.

Paterno allegedly told McQueary that his claim against Sandusky “was the second complaint of this nature he had received.” The complaint was never discussed again between Paterno and McQueary.

According to the report, McQueary recalls of the conversation, “Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face” and his “eyes appeared to well up with tears.”

The report also alleges that Paterno told McQueary that his wife, Sue Paterno, once told him that Sandusky’s wife, Dottie Sandusky, “told her Jerry doesn’t like girls.”

Following the incident, McQueary filed a complaint against former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, according to ESPN. The men told Sandusky he could not bring children to the school anymore but they did not notify police.

In June 2017, Spanier was sentenced to four to 12 months with the first two in jail and the remaining under house arrest. Curley was sentenced to seven to 23 months with three in jail and Schultz was sentenced to six to 23 months with two months in jail, reports the Chicago Tribune.

It wasn’t until 2008 when a school district reported another incident that Sandusky was criminally investigated.

McQueary did not testify about the details found in the police report, which had been written just days after Sandusky was arrested in 2011.

Paterno admitted to a grand jury in 2011 that he had first learned of the sexual abuse in 2001, although records show that Penn State officials handled a 1998 complaint from a mother who says Sandusky had showered with her son.

“I wish I had done more,” Paterno said in November 2011. He died in early 2012 and did not face any charges.

In 2016, an alleged victim’s depositions were unsealed, claiming that Sandusky had touched him sexually in 1976 and that he informed Paterno the day after the assault.

In 2012, former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that Spanier, Schultz, aterno and Curley did not demonstrate any concern for the welfare of Sandusky’s victims until after his arrest. Freeh was also highly critical of Penn State’s board of trustees.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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3 responses to “Police Report Claims Paterno Knew of Earlier Sandusky Abuse Allegation”

  1. Tim Berton says:

    The headline is in error when it says “allegations.” It should be singular.

    CNN’s new revelation is that Paterno allegedly told McQueary in 2001 that there had been one previous complaint. It was known before this CNN report that Paterno was told of the 1998 child abuse complaint that was investigated by police and child protection agencies. That complaint was officially declared unfounded so Paterno would have known that no child abuse occurred in 1998, just that it was a false allegation.

  2. Tim Berton says:

    The actual quote by Paterno was “”With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Anyone who ever saw Sandusky around children could have said that.

    Dottie Sandusky has vehemently denied that she ever told Sue Paterno that “Jerry doesn’t like girls” and noted that some females testified for Sandusky’s defense about the good things Sandusky did for them. Sue Paterno also denied she was told that.

  3. Tim Berton says:

    Reporters have ignored that Paterno’s comment about 2001 being the “second complaint” is a repudiation of the unbelievable, uncorroborated and uninvestigated allegations that Paterno received two complaints about Sandusky in the 1970s.

    We know from other evidence that 1998 was the first complaint, officially ruled unfounded, that Paterno heard and McQueary’s 2001 complaint was the second.

    This report vindicates Paterno, rather than vilifies him.

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