Cops: Sandusky admitted to '98 shower with boy

Jerry Sandusky, the one-time heir apparent to Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, told a boy's mother in 1998 that he had showered with her son and with other boys but he wouldn't promise to stop, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Police in State College, Penn., listened in to two conversations Sandusky had with the mother, with her permission, after her then-11-year-old son came home with hair wet from showing with Sandusky. At the end of the second conversation, Sandusky was told he could not see the boy anymore.

"I understand," State College Detective Ronald Schreffler testified Sandusky said. "I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."

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Sandusky — who maintains he is innocent — has since been charged with 40 criminal counts, accusing him of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009. Two PSU administrators who have since stepped aside have also been charged with failing to notify authorities of a 2002 incident reported by an eyewitness.

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The 11-year-old was only identified as the former assistant football coach's sixth alleged victim. In 1998, his mother tried to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again, but he wouldn't make that promise, Schreffler testified.

Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, testified to the grand jury Sandusky admitted to him and Schreffler in an interview that he hugged the boy while naked in the shower and that he knew it was wrong.

However, the case was closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided there would be no criminal charges filed.

Late Tuesday night, Penn State's board of trustees said it would appoint a special committee to conduct an investigation into the "circumstances" that resulted in the indictments of Sandusky, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz. The committee will be appointed Friday at the board's regular meeting, which Gov. Tom Corbett said he plans to attend, and will examine "what failures occurred and who is responsible and what measures are necessary to ensure" similar mistakes aren't made in the future.

The board also promised those responsible would be held "fully accountable."

"We are committed to restoring public trust in the university," the board statement concluded.

Paterno is fighting for his job amid "eroding" support from the board and the widening sex-abuse scandal.

Paterno's regularly scheduled news conference was abruptly canceled Tuesday. A university spokesman cited "ongoing legal circumstances," a reference to the charges announced over the weekend.

At least a thousand students descended on the administration building about 11 p.m., EDT, chanting "Joe Paterno!" over and over, along with Penn State cheers. Many held up their smartphones to take photos or simply light up the night. A few young men climbed flag poles.

About 10 police officers stood on the steps of the building, guarding it.

Paterno's son, Scott, said his father was disappointed over the decision by PSU President Graham Spanier to cancel the news conference. Addressing reporters outside his parents' house, Scott said Joe was prepared to answer questions about Sandusky and further that his father plans to coach not only Saturday's game against Nebraska, but for the long haul.

Hundreds of fans staged a raucous rally outside Paterno's home. He appeared briefly, along with some family members, and thanked the crowd for coming.

"It's hard for me to say how much this means," the 84-year-old coach said. "I've lived for this place. I've lived for people like you guys and girls."

Asked if he was still the coach, Paterno didn't answer but a young woman who stood with her arm around him replied: "Now is not the time."

As he returned to his house, Paterno stopped and pumped his fists above his head, yelling, "We are ..."

"Penn State!" the crowd replied.

"We're always going to be Penn State," Paterno said. "I'm proud of you. I've always been proud of you. Beat Nebraska."

At an afternoon practice, managers hastily put plywood boards over an exposed fence to block photographers' view of the field.

Paterno, who earns about $1 million annually from the school, has been head coach for 46 years and part of the Penn State staff for more than six decades, and his old-school values pervade every corner of the program.

Over that span, the Nittany Lions won two national championships, but unlike many other Division I powerhouses, the program avoided run-ins with the NCAA. The team generates millions of dollars each year in revenues from attendance, TV rights and sponsorships, but it has stubbornly stuck with the basic white-and-blue uniforms that are now among the most recognizable in college football.

All those things have inspired pride in the region and fierce loyalty to Paterno, who is the winningest coach in Division I and one of the most respected in any sport. That lofty status, however, has been the subject of heated arguments in recent days, among students on campus, construction workers on the street and the PSU board of trustees.