Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno’s Penn State University legacy “is now marred” as a result of the school’s sex abuse scandal, the chairwoman of Penn State’s board of trustees said.
Karen Peetz said Thursday the board “accepts full responsibility for the failures that occurred” in protecting children from Jerry Sandusky, following the release of a report that said top school officials “concealed critical facts” about allegations made against the former assistant football coach.
The report, the product of an eight-month university-sanctioned investigation into the scandal, stated Paterno “was an integral part of this active decision to conceal” Sandusky’s abuse, and that is firing last year was justified. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.
“Sixty-one years of excellent service to the university that Joe gave is now marred,” Peetz said.
Of the report’s finding that officials concealed the allegations, she said: “We are horrified, we are saddened…there are not enough superlative words to use.”
She said the board of trustees “will take every action to ensure that an event like this never happens again in our university community” and vowed to “restore trust” in Penn State.
Another trustee, Kenneth Frazier, said, “Our hearts remain heavy and we are deeply ashamed” of the “inexcusable failure on the part of Joe Paterno and others to protect children.”
“You have to measure every human by the good they’ve done, and the bad they’ve done,” he said. “We have to take some time … and distance before we start thinking about how we think about Joe Paterno’s entire life and entire body of work.”
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted last month on 45 criminal counts.