Nightly News | November 10, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And at the heart of this, of course, a 23-page document, the criminal indictment of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky . It's tough to read, tough to talk about. It paints a disturbing portrait of a man who used his position to target and sexually abuse young boys , allegedly over a long period of time. And reading through the document, as our own Savannah Guthrie 's been doing today, it also portrays a long list of missed opportunities to stop him. Savannah 's here with us in the studio tonight. And while I know you happen to be a lawyer, you don't need a law degree to get the import of these charges in this document.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE reporting: No question about it. This document tells a terrible tale. It alleges Sandusky had a pattern of finding victims in the charity for underprivileged children he founded, luring them, in some cases, with gifts and trips and access to sporting events, and then escalating the relationship into serious sexual abuse. The indictment tells the story of eight different victims, some of whom were subjected to repeated oral sex and intercourse. It's a timeline that starts in 1996 , but doesn't end with Sandusky 's arrest until 15 years later. Jerry Sandusky is already working at Penn State for nearly a decade when he starts The Second Mile in 1977 , a nonprofit aimed at helping kids in trouble. Nearly 20 years later in 1996 , the indictment charges Sandusky takes a young boy under 10 to the football complex's locker room and touches him in the shower. Two years later, in 1998 Coach Sandusky allegedly takes a different young boy into the showers. The child's mother notices his wet hair when he comes home and calls university police . In a later conversation with Sandusky , with police listening, the indictment says the mother confronts the coach who allegedly admits he has showered with other boys and doesn't agree to stop. One of the detectives later testifies that Sandusky said to the mother, "I understand, I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead." According to the indictment , the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare says Sandusky admits to the encounter but the case is closed with no criminal charges filed. In 1999 , Sandusky retires from Joe Paterno 's staff, but is still permitted access to the team and its facilities. The indictment says during football season in the fall of 2000 a janitor who was a temporary employee at the school sees Sandusky having oral sex with a boy in the team shower. His supervisor tells the janitor how to make a report but the janitor never does. Then in March 2002 , according to court documents, then graduate assistant , now assistant coach Mike McQueary , says he witnesses Sandusky at the team's facilities having intercourse with a boy in the showers who looks to be about 10 years old. Prosecutors say McQueary tells Coach Joe Paterno the next day. Well, Paterno reported that incident to the school's athletic director, but prosecutors say the police were never called. No one attempted to locate the boy and the child welfare agency was never alerted. The school did take away Sandusky 's keys to the locker room and reported the alleged incident to his charity. And of course Sandusky and two other university officials, Brian , who've been charged with perjury, have all pleaded not guilty.
WILLIAMS: This is so tough to take, tough to talk about. Does Paterno himself face any legal, criminal exposure?
GUTHRIE: Well, so far based on what prosecutors have alleged, they haven't charged him with anything, not with perjury and not with anything related to the case. It seems that he met the bare legal requirement of reporting it to his superior. But I think the criticism is that he failed the moral test, that people expected more of him. They expected him to use his considerable influence to raise the alarm, raise a fuss. And most importantly, when you read this indictment , Brian , you see that prosecutors allege that after that incident in 2002 that Paterno allegedly knew about, Sandusky , according to prosecutors, went on to molest at least one other boy.
WILLIAMS: Savannah Guthrie here tonight with more on our lead story.