Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has given his first interview since being fired over the Sandusky scandal to the Washington Post.
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In the interview, published online today, the 81-year-old attempted to explain why he had not taken more action after an assistant coach told him in 2002 that he had seen retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually molesting a boy in the shower.
“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” Paterno told the Post. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”
Sandusky has been charged with 52 counts of child molestation, ESPN reported.
Paterno also told the Post that the assistant coach did not describe in detail what he’d seen. "You know, he didn't want to get specific,” Paterno said. “And to be frank with you, I don't know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man.”
Paterno is currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer, and Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins described him as “wracked by radiation and chemotherapy, in a wheelchair with a broken pelvis.” The interview was conducted over two days in his State College, Pa., home.
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Jay Paterno, one of Joe Paterno's three sons, told ESPN last week that his father was "very anxious to get out there soon and start to tell his side of the story and start to express – get all the facts out."