STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State’s president abruptly canceled Joe Paterno’s weekly news conference today amid increasing calls for both men to resign in the wake of a former assistant coach’s sex-abuse scandal and as another potential victim came forward.
The news conference was to be the first chance for reporters to ask Paterno about what he knew about Jerry Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator and one-time heir apparent, who was indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.
“Due to the ongoing legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today’s press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled,” assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson said in a statement.
Paterno’s son Scott told The Associated Press that the decision was made by President Graham Spanier’s office. Scott said that his father was disappointed and was prepared to take questions about the scandal as well as the upcoming game against Nebraska.
Authorities have said that Paterno, who testified in the grand jury proceedings that led to the charges, is not a target of the investigation. But the state police commissioner has chastised him and other school officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.
Meanwhile, another potential victim has contacted authorities.
The man, now an adult, contacted the department on Sunday after seeing media accounts of Sandusky’s arrest, Lt. David Young at the Montoursville station said. Investigators took a statement from him and forwarded it to the Rockview station for officers there to pursue, Young said.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which first reported that the man had come forward, said he is in his 20s, knew Sandusky from The Second Mile charity and had never told his parents or authorities about the alleged encounters from about a decade ago.
Young declined to release the man’s name or provide details about what he claims occurred.
The Patriot-News published a rare full, front-page editorial calling for this season to be Paterno’s last and for Spanier to resign immediately.
“There are the obligations we all have to uphold the law. There are then the obligations we all have to do what is right,” the editorial board wrote about Spanier’s role in the sex abuse scandal, along with Paterno’s.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in an editorial, also called on Paterno and Spanier to both resign.
A person familiar with Sandusky’s relationship with Penn State told The Associated Press that the former coach long maintained an office in the East Area Locker building which is across the street from the Penn State football team’s building, and was on campus as recently as week ago working out.
The university’s online directory listed Sandusky — whom Penn State officials said banned from campus over the weekend — as an assistant professor emeritus of physical education in the Lasch building.
The grand jury investigating Sandusky found that he was given the office, a parking pass and other amenities as part of his 1999 retirement package.
Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Monday in Harrisburg that Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team’s locker room shower in 2002. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.
“Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child,” Noonan said.
“I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you’re a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us.”
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