UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — It’s been 10 years since State College along with the rest of the country learned of the infamous child sex abuse scandal involving former Penn State Nittany Lions football assistant coach Gerald ‘Jerry’ Sandusky.
The scandal not only implicated notable officials at Penn State but it brought into question the legacy of head coach Joe Paterno which remains under controversy to this day.
This timeline of events highlights one of the darkest periods in Penn State’s history:
Sandusky is hired as an assistant football coach at Penn State. During the 1969 season, the Nittany Lions went undefeated. However, they were not awarded a national championship until the end of the 1982 season when they defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1983.
Sandusky founded The Second Mile, a non-profit organization in State College aimed at serving underprivileged and troubled children and their parents in Pennsylvania. The organization developed into a statewide charity with Paterno among board members.
During this four-year period, Sandusky met four young boys through The Second Mile organization. These boys will later be known through court documents as Victim 4, 5, 6 and 7. The Second Mile’s youth programs reportedly served over 100,000 children yearly.
The mother of 11-year-old Victim 6 contacted university police after her son returned home with wet hair and said he had showered with Sandusky. Police then opened an investigation into the matter.
Sandusky later admitted to police during an interview that he had hugged the boy in the shower after the investigation revealed more than one incident. Psychologist Alycia Chambers also told police that Sandusky matched the characteristics of a pedophile.
Sandusky reportedly promised Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigator Jerry Lauro he would not shower with children again. Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided not to press criminal charges.
Sandusky retires from his Penn State football assistant coaching position with an “emeritus” status which allowed him continued access to campus facilities.
Victim 4 is listed as a member of Sandusky’s family party for the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, 1999.
Sandusky met a boy, Victim 3, through Second Mile. He took Victim 3 to events and a gym at his home where at these locations he engaged in inappropriate contact.
In the fall of 2000, Penn State janitor James Calhoun reported to his supervisor that he saw Sandusky performing a sexual act on a boy, Victim 8, in the showers of the Lasch Football Building. Calhoun’s supervisor reportedly told him where to report the incident. Calhoun never reported the incident to the administration.
In February, Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky sexually molesting a boy, Victim 2, in the showers of the Lasch Football Building. McQueary reported the incident to Coach Paterno who in turn informs Atheltic Director Tim Curley.
Curley along with Penn State President Graham Spanier and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz informed the Department of Public Welfare. Curley later emailed Spanier and Schultz reportedly saying he had changed his mind and wanted to offer Sandusky professional help.
Sandusky was prohibited from bringing any Second Mile children onto the Lasch Building. Curley reported the incident to the executive director of The Second Mile. No report was made to police.
Another boy, Victim 9, begins participating in The Second Mile. Sandusky invites the boy to games and gives him gifts. Sandusky also brings the boy to his home over several years where he sexually assaulted the boy in his basement. Victim 9 leaves Second Mile in 2008.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004, Sandusky is inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Sheraton Inn North in Pittsburgh.
In March, Another boy, Victim 1, meets Sandusky at The Second Mile.
Victim 1 reportedly stopped seeing Sandusky when he entered his first year of Central Valley High School. The school was later contacted by the boy’s mother who reported that her son was sexually abused by Sandusky. The school district banned Sandusky from its campuses.
The mother also filed a report with the police, prompting another investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
In September, Sandusky retired from his regular involvement with The Second Mile.
On Nov. 5, Sandusky was arrested on 40 criminal counts. He was later released on $100,000 bail and waived his preliminary trial in December.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly charged Curley and Schultz with one count of perjury and one count of failing to report the complaints against Sandusky to the police. While Paterno was cleared of the investigation, he’s later fired by the board of trustees after he had announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Spanier was also fired.
On Nov. 16, Penn State and State College police released a statement that said there was no record of McQueary ever reporting the molestation of Victim 2, which countered a claim made by McQueary that he had a discussion with both university officials and police regarding the incident.
Later in November, The NCAA announced that it will launch an investigation into whether Penn State violated any bylaws by not reporting Sandusky’s assaults. The remaining leaders of The Second Mile also made plans to dissolve the charity and transfer its programs to other nonprofits.
On Jan. 6, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is selected as Nittany Lions head football coach by Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Acting Director of Athletics Dave Joyner. He was later named Maxwell Football Club’s Collegiate Coach of the Year on Dec. 19.
Paterno dies on Jan. 22 after his health quickly deteriorated during a battle with lung cancer.
On Feb. 29, Sandusky’s lawyer requested his trial be delayed until mid-July. The judge denies the request. Later in June, the trial began. McQueary testified that he witnessed Sandusky having intercourse with a boy.
Sandusky never testified and his defense rested on June 20. He was then found guilty on 45 of the 48 criminal counts of sexual abuse.
In July, Former FBI director Louis Freeh released a 267-page report criticizing Penn State officials. The report was since marked as conjecture due to a lack of evidence.
Later in July, Penn State removed the statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium in University Park.
O’Brien leaves Penn State and is announced as head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans in early January.
James Franklin is later appointed Nittany Lions head football coach after serving as head coach for Vanderbilt University from 2011 to 2013.
Paterno’s 111 wins from 1998 to 2011 are restored after the NCAA removed the wins during the scandal. Paterno retained the title of college football’s winningest coach.
Sandusky requested an evidentiary hearing for a new trial saying he was given an unfair trial. A Superior Court decision later granted Sandusky new sentencing but did not give him a new trial.
In May, current Penn State President Eric Barron criticized an insurance document filed in a Philadelphia court that alleged a child told Paterno about sexual abuse by Sandusky in 1976. Barron said the university had no evidence regarding the matter.
Sandusky began serving his sentence at SCI Laurel Highlands after being transferred from SCI Somerset.
Ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier was convicted of one count of child endangerment for his handling of the 2001 abuse involving Victim 2 and Sandusky.
In November, Sandusky is resentenced to the same penalty he received following his conviction in 2012. He is sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
An attempt by Spanier to appeal his conviction is denied. He was sentenced to two months in jail and two months’ house arrest.
On July 9, Spanier reported to jail. He was later released in August after serving 58 days.