Penn State Scandal: Paterno Contacts Legendary Defense Lawyer, Reports Say

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
November 11, 2011|11:15 am

Reports suggest Joe Paterno hired a defense lawyer after being ousted from his position as Penn State’s head football coach Wednesday.

Paterno contacted highly regarded J. Sedgwick Sollers Thursday, according to NBC. Sollers previously represented President George H.W. Bush during the Iran-Contra scandal.

However, other reports affirm a lawyer has not been retained.

“To be clear, no lawyer has been retained. Not sure where that report originated,” tweeted Paterno’s son, Scott, Thursday.

According to The Daily Mail, analysts estimate Penn State’s liability for the scandal could cost the university $100 million to $250 million.

Paterno is not a suspect nor is he being charged in the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sex scandal.

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After school administrators announced the firing of Paterno Wednesday night, Penn State students expressed their dismay in a rowdy display of civil unrest.

Students chanted: “We love Joe,” “We want Joe,” and “We are Penn State.”

Paterno issued a statement after the announcement, urging students to respect University property and to remain calm.

“I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt,” said Paterno in the statement.

Penn State’s reputation is tainted after Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach to renowned head coach Paterno, was charged with the sexual assault of eight boys over a period of 15 years from 1994 to 2009.

He is suspected to have abused the boys during his participation in The Second Mile, a statewide nonprofit organization that helps at-risk kids. Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977.

Top officials Tim Curley, the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business, are also being charged with perjury and failing to alert police of Sandusky’s sexual misdoings. The two stepped down from their posts at Penn State Sunday.

Curley and Schultz reportedly ignored rumors of Sandusky’s inappropriate behavior.

In March 2002, a graduate assistant at the university notified Paterno he witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a nude male victim in the locker room showers.

“As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at the time, I referred the matter to university administrators,” said Paterno.

Curley and Schultz took no action after hearing of the assault, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.

Although many students express support for beloved Paterno, others remain critical, suggesting the head coach should have pursued the Sandusky rumors further.

Paterno referred to the scandal as “one of the great sorrows of my life” in a statement Wednesday, and expressed regret for not doing more to stop Sandusky.

Paterno, 84, is one of the oldest major-college football coaches on record. He was in his 46th football season at Penn State when fired, and stands as one of the only coaches in history with 400-plus wins.

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Senators announced they will no longer support Paterno for the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

“In light of the recent events in State College, we are rescinding our support for the nomination of Joe Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” said Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey in a joint statement.

 

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