Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/5/11

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions stands on the field during warm-ups before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

When it comes to the cover-up of any crime, the question all legal professionals first seek answers to is “what did he know and when did he know it?”

As we posted earlier, former Nittany Lions Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on charges that he sexually abused eight young men.

Also, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz are facing charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into the abuse allegations against Sandusky.

So when there are charges of this nature surrounding a high profile program like Penn State, the next question is what did the coach know and when did he know it? In college football, programs ARE their head coach. When that coach is Joe Paterno, the all-time leader in coaching wins, the information becomes even more sought after.

What you’ll see in the grand jury report will no doubt adversely affect the legend of JoePa.

h/t to The Big Lead.

Here’s the most disturbing part of the grand jury report:

“Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old.”

According to the grand jury, the graduate assistant had returned to the football building that evening to put a new pair of sneakers in his locker and to retrieve some recruiting films, only to be surprised that the lights were on in the locker room and showers were running. The assistant immediately recognized Sandusky.

Kelly said the assistant, who was extremely upset about what he had seen, immediately called his father to relate what he had discovered.  Together, the two decided that the assistant should promptly report the incident to head football coach Joe Paterno.

The next morning, the assistant telephoned Paterno and then went to Paterno’s home to explain what he had seen. Paterno testified that he then called Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and met with Curley the following day, explaining that a graduate assistant had reported seeing Sandusky involved in sexual activity with a young boy in the showers at the Lasch Building.

Kelly said that approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Curley and Gary Schultz, who was Senior Vice President for Finance and Business at the University. At that time, the assistant again recounted what he had witnessed Sandusky doing to a young boy in the showers of the football locker room.

“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said. “Additionally, there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack first-hand.”

Rather damning stuff- because ignorance is not an excuse. When disasters occur on your watch, you have responsibility for it. And when you just broke the record for D-1 career wins, and people think you walk on water, then the fall from grace (if it’s gonna happen) is even more severe. We’re not saying JoePa is guilty of knowing about the situation and not acting on it. However, when one of his top subordinates (Sandusky) and his immediate boss (Curley) are aware of it…..

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports.

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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