2012 Top Stories: The Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Dec 26, 2012 5:16 AM
Pennsylvania State University old main

(Undated) -- The Jerry Sandusky scandal has forever changed Penn State's leadership, its charitable efforts and its football program.

Penn State's tumultuous year ends with Jerry Sandusky serving a 30-to-60 year sentence in state prison and three university leaders fighting charges they covered up his child abuse.

Former university president Graham Spanier and administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz maintain their innocence.

Louis Freeh, former FBI director, implicates the trio in a special report commissioned by university trustees and issued a few weeks after Sandusky's conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

"The most powerful men at Penn State never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest," Freeh says.

The report says the leaders knew about suspected child sex abuse by Sandusky as early as 1998.

As a result, the NCAA stripped the Nittany Lions' football program of its victories going back to that year.

It also fined the program $60 million, cut scholarships and banned it from bowl games for four years.

NCAA President Mark Emmert says the sanctions ensure Penn State will rebuild an athletic culture that went horribly awry.

"Our goal is not to be just punitive, but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert says.

In spite of the unprecedented punishment, the Nittany Lions had a surprisingly successful season under first-year-coach Bill O'Brien, going 8-and-4.

O'Brien won the Big Ten's Maxwell Coach of the Year award.

Senior linebacker Mike Mauti says leadership made a difference on the team.

"The kind of guys that we have, character wise, it just really says a lot of how we've stuck together on the team," Mauti says.

While Penn State's season ends without a bowl game appearance, Sandusky, who maintains his innocence, spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in a state prison in Greene County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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