Monday 25 September 2017

US college fined $60m over coach's sex abuse cover-up

Penn State University students react to the news of the fines during a live broadcast of the announcement yesterday
Penn State University students react to the news of the fines during a live broadcast of the announcement yesterday
Jerry Sandusky: former coach at head of scandal

Ralph D Russo in Indianapolis

A US college at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal has been fined $60m (€50m).

Penn State was also stripped of its once-legendary coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011. But the country's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) stopped short of shutting down Penn State's entire football programme.

Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant coach, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing several young boys, at times on campus, sometimes after finding them through the charity he founded for at-risk youths.

The NCAA action came in the wake of a devastating report asserting that top university officials buried child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago.

The investigative report by former FBI director Louis Freeh found that Paterno and three other top Penn State administrators concealed sex abuse claims against Sandusky.

The fine is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football programme.

The money must be paid into an endowment for external groups preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims.

Protecting

"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," NCAA president Mark Emmert said.

Mr Emmert said last week that he had not ruled out shutting down the football programme altogether.

"Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said.

On Sunday, the college tore down a statue of Paterno on the six-month anniversary of his death from lung cancer at age 85. The Paterno family criticised the decision, saying it was made before all the facts about Paterno's role in the scandal were known.

Irish Independent

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