Investigator: Paterno, others may still face charges

7:27 PM, Nov 11, 2011   |    comments
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The charges against a former assistant coach and two Penn State University officials have shocked the nation, but legal experts say the indictment may not be the last word on the scandal.

"I don't think this investigation yet is concluded," said former federal prosecutor Geoffrey Mearns, now provost at Cleveland State University.  

He said it's likely the Pennsylvania Attorney General has other targets after charging former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky with sexually abusing young boys. 

Among those on the list: Former football Head Coach Joe Paterno, who was fired this week following severe criticism that Paterno did not do more after a graduate assistant on the team says he caught Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in 2002.

"I think there will be greater scrutiny on what did the grad assistant tell Coach Paterno, what did he specifically tell the administrators and the university," said Mearns.

"Simply because (Paterno) has not yet been charged does not mean he is completely in the clear with respect to the criminal investigation."

According to a grand jury report, the grad assistant discovered Sandusky forcibly having sex with a 10-year-old boy after walking into a football locker room late one night in 2002.

Stunned, he left without saying -- or doing -- anything. The next day, the grad assistant "went to Paterno's home, where he reported what he seen," the report noted.

But Paterno testified he told Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley simply that Sandusky was quote "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy," according to the report.

Paterno may realize he could be a target. NBC News reported the coach has contacted a prominent criminal defense attorney.

There is also a number of potential civil lawsuits that could be filed against both Paterno and Penn State for not reporting the incident to authorities and not barring Sandusky from the campus.

The grand jury report said the university did prohibit Sandusky from bringing young children on campus, although school officials acknowledged it was unenforceable.

"They didn't terminate (Sandusky's) association with the university, they didn't appear to take aggressive steps to investigate it internally, they didn't appear to take aggressive steps to report it to authorities," Mearns said.

Then there's the executive director of The Second Mile, the foundation Sandusky founded for disadvantaged kids. He learned of the abuse soon after it happened and never told anyone, according to the report.

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