(The Blaze/AP) — Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno says he "didn't know which way to go" after an assistant coach came to him in 2002 saying he had seen retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy.
In his first public comments since being fired two months ago, Paterno told The Washington Post that assistant Mike McQueary "didn't want to get specific" about details in his 2002 allegation involving Sandusky, who he claimed was showering with a boy in the Penn State football facility.
The Post reported Saturday that Paterno was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he didn't want to be seen as trying to exert influence for or against Sandusky.
"I didn't know which way to go ... And rather than get in there and make a mistake," he told the Post before trailing off.
Paterno reported the allegation to his superiors. Paterno is accused of no wrongdoing, and authorities have said he fulfilled his legal obligations by reporting to his superiors. Washington Post photo by John McDonnell of Paterno at his home during the interview:
Sandusky has denied the charges, which were first filed Nov. 5. Paterno was ousted four days later after 46 years as head coach.
Post interviewer Sally Jenkins notes that she gave Paterno every opportunity to complain about the way the university had terminated him, but "he didn't want to do that."
"I don't want to walk away from this thing bitter," said Paterno.
Jenkins's interview with Paterno, featuring audio/video, at The Washington Post.