Joe Paterno, the longtime Penn State University football coach fired in the fallout from child sex abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky, says he was unsure how to handle the first report about Sandusky that reached him in 2002.
"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 Washington Post in his first extensive public comments since being dismissed by the university in November.
"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."
He was referring to a report he received from an assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who said he had seen Sandusky abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room shower.
Paterno's decision to tell college officials and not police about the 2002 incident was the basis for his dismissal by the Penn State Board of Trustees' on Nov. 9. Also fired was university president Graham Spanier.
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