(HARRISBURG, Pa.) — Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was in no hurry to forward to authorities a witness’ report of a sexual abuse of a young boy because he didn’t want to “interfere with their weekends,” according to a deposition read in court Friday.
The man Paterno told about the abuse, former athletic director Tim Curley, testified in a deposition Friday that he didn’t think it was a crime, so he didn’t call the police.
Their testimony was among a series of accounts by Penn State officials who displayed a remarkable lack of urgency after a boy was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Penn State locker room shower in 2002 by former coach Jerry Sandusky.
The day ended with Judge William C. Wenner ruling that there was enough evidence to try Curley and former vice president of finance Gary Schultz on charges of perjury.
In a hearing at Dauphin County District Court Friday, Paterno’s deposition was read in which he recounts being told by assistant coach Mike McQueary that he saw Sandusky fondling a boy.
Paterno, who is 84 and battling cancer, did not appear in court. His deposition was entered into the record.
“He (McQueary) had seen a person, an older person, fondling a young boy,” Paterno testified. “I don’t know what you would call it, but it was of a sexual nature. I didn’t push Mike to describe it because he was already upset, but it was something inappropriate to a youngster.”
“I didn’t want to interfere with their weekends, (so) either Saturday or Monday, I talked to my boss, Tim Curley, by phone, saying, ‘Hey we got a problem’ and I explained the problem to him,” Paterno said.
Curley, in his deposition, said he did not think the incident constituted a crime worthy of calling the police, despite admitting to the grand jury that he knew Sandusky had been seen showering naked with a boy and inappropriately horsing around and wrestling with him.
“I never reported it to University Police. I didn’t think that it was a crime at the time,” Curley testified.
The reactions by Paterno and Curley follow a pattern of lax responses by university and Second Mile officials to sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.
McQueary, who witnessed the 2002 incident in the locker room, said that rather than physically stopping the assault, or even saying anything to Sandusky while he was in the shower with the boy, he merely slammed his locker and walked out of the building.
Instead of calling the police, McQueary talked about it to his father and didn’t call Paterno until the next day.
University president Graham Spanier was notified of the 2002 incident by Schultz and Curley but also did not report the incident to police.
The hearing Friday hinged on the testimony of Mike McQueary, who is the prosecution’s main witness in the cases against Curley, Schultz and Sandusky.
One of Sandusky’s attorneys, Karl Rominger, said Thursday that there was a simple explanation for why Sandusky would have been in a shower with the boy that night, and it was not sexual.
“Some of these kids don’t have basic hygiene skills, teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body,” Rominger told ABC affiliate WHTM.
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