(Sports Network) - In his first detailed conversation since being fired by
Penn State, Joe Paterno says he didn't know how to handle hearing a report
from an assistant who said he saw Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy
in the university showers.
"In hindsight," Paterno told the Washington Post in an interview published
Saturday, "I wish I had done more."
Paterno said he was "afraid" to jeopardize university procedure after
assistant coach Mike McQueary knocked on his door on a Saturday morning, sat
at his kitchen table and described what he had seen.
McQueary left out graphic details, Paterno said. But the legendary Nittany
Lions coach wasn't sure he would have been able to comprehend the details
anyway. And he was unsure of how to handle the information he had.
"So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought
would have a little more expertise than I did," Paterno said. "It didn't work
out that way."
Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who oversaw
the university's police department, will go to trial on charges they lied
about and failed to report alleged assaults by Sandusky.
Sandusky has denied dozens of charges against himself that he systematically
abuse children, using his Second Mile charity to groom potential victims.
Paterno hasn't been charged with a crime and likely won't be. But he lost his
decades-old job as head coach at Penn State when he was fired by trustees in
November amid criticism he didn't do enough to stop the alleged abuse.
On the night he was fired, Paterno says an assistant athletic director knocked
on the door and handed him a slip of paper with a phone number to call. After
he dialed the number and was terminated, his wife, Sue, called back to say her
husband "deserved better" after 61 years of service.
Joe Paterno is battling lung cancer now and sat in a wheelchair for at least
part of his interview because of a broken pelvis. He is undergoing radiation
and chemotherapy treatments for his cancer and was wearing a wig. During his
interview, the paper said, a lawyer and communications advisor were present.
"I wish I knew" how Sandusky's alleged abuse avoided detection, Paterno said.
"I don't know the answer to that. It's hard."
He said he would be "sick about" the abuse, if Sandusky is found guilty of the
charges, and waited so long to finally talk about the case because he "wanted
everybody to settle down."
He said he was unaware of a 1998 police investigation involving a complaint
from a mother of a Second Mile child who said Sandusky had abused her son in a
"Nobody knew about it," he said.
The Sports Network