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Sex-abuse case stuns US college football

Ex-assistant to a legendary Penn State football coach faces 40 counts of child abuse.
Last modified: 7 Nov 2011 21:34

A 67-year-old former football coach at one of the US.'s leading academic and sporting universities in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania has been arrested on allegations of serial child abuse.

Assistant coach Jerry Sandusky helped coach Penn State's football team for more than 30 years. 

He also ran a charity helping disadvantaged teenaged boys.

But now he's turned himself into the authorities having been charged with 40 counts of child abuse. 

His lawyer Joe Amendola says, "He's been aware of these allegations for over three years now. He came back to State College voluntarily last night."

The 41-page indictment, issued after a three-year Grand Jury investigation, is graphic.

It contains detailed accounts of Sandusky allegedly having sex with eight victims - mostly young adolescent boys.

At least one incident is said to have taken place in the Penn State football complex.

The indictment says Sandusky met most of his victims through his charity the Second Mile.

But the scandal at Penn State doesn't stop there.

Legendary head coach Joe Paterno hasn't been charged, despite allegedly knowing about the allegations. He's said to have informed university officials.

But the athletics director Tim Curley and the university's vice-president Gary Schultz have also been indicted - accused of lying to the Grand Jury and failing to report suspected child abuse to the proper authorities. 

Both have now stepped down from their jobs.

There are concerns the university was more concerned about damaging its football reputation than protecting the young victims.

In the United States college sports is VERY big business.

All disciplines are held in high regard, but perhaps none as much as football.
 
Senior coaching staff often have multi-million dollar contracts and the players become young sporting heroes who often go onto work in the highly paid professional NFL.

Tens of thousands of fans regularly attend the games, while TV rights attract big audiences and lucrative advertising which helps fund a range of university programmes.

In a book he wrote Jerry Sandusky talks about living life according to a self-proclaimed law, allowing himself to be mischievous but telling the truth if caught.

Prosecutors say if he's convicted on many of the charges Sandusky could face the rest of his life in jail.

For now he's free on $100,000 bail.