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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky made headlines in November 2011, when he was arrested on several sexual offenses related to children. He was later found guilty of 45 charges and sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in prison.
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He was held in high esteem for his work both on and off the field.
However, questions regarding Sandusky's behavior surfaced in the 1990s. In 1998, authorities became suspicious of him, regarding evidence of his allegedly inappropriate conduct with minors. State College police conducted an investigation of Sandusky, after a boy told his mother that he had showered with Sandusky in Penn State's football building, and that Sandusky had touched him during the incident. However,
no charges were filed in that case.
Sandusky retired from Penn State in late 1999. His decision to leave was surprising to some, but others thought there may have been some tension between Sandusky and Paterno. In May 1999, Paterno reportedly told Sandusky that Sandusky would never be considered as his replacement. He soon published his autobiography, Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story (2000), which covered his years in football and his philanthropic efforts.
While no longer on staff on Penn State, Sandusky still used the school's facilities for Second Mile activities. There, he was seen allegedly sexually assaulting two different boys in two separate incidents, in 2000 and 2002. In 2002, a football graduate assistant named Michael McQueary said that he saw Sandusky attacking a boy in the locker room showers. McQueary reported the incident to Joe Paterno, who, in turn, informed the school's athletic director, Timothy Curley. Sandusky had to turn in his keys to the facility, but the police were not contacted regarding the incident.
In 2008, a high school freshman told his mother about sexual abuse he had experienced at the hands of Sandusky, who was working as a volunteer coach at his school. This incident triggered a new investigation of Sandusky, and the young man later became known as Victim No. 1 in the ensuing court case. The investigation yielded unsettling results: at least eight young boys had been allegedly abused by Sandusky.
In November 2011, Sandusky was arrested on 40 charges in connection with the abuse of eight boys. The arrest devastated the small community of State College, home to Penn State; the university came under fire for its handling of the 2002 incident. The school's board of directors acted swiftly. Both Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were forced to leave their positions. Additionally, two other officials resigned, facing criminal charges in connection with the case.
Sandusky has claimed that he is innocent of the charges against him. In December 2011, he granted NBC sports correspondent Bob Costas an interview. Sandusky told Costas that he was not a pedophile and denied being sexually attracted to young boys. He also described the 2002 incident at Penn State as "horsing around." Asked to describe himself, Sandusky said, "I'm a very passionate person, in terms of trying to make a difference in the lives of some young people. I worked very hard to try to connect with them, to make them feel good about themselves, to be something significant in their lives.
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