STATE COLLEGE - Penn State football coach Joe Paterno says he's shocked by sexual abuse charges brought against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and deeply saddened by the allegations.
In a statement issued by his son, Scott, on Sunday, Paterno said he's troubled that someone he thought he knew may have harmed young people.
Paterno referred to his grand jury testimony in which he testified that he was informed by an assistant coach in 2002 that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of the team locker room. Prosecutors have said Paterno had passed on the information to athletic director Tim Curley.
The grand jury report refers to the assistant coach as a graduate assistant, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News has been reporting that the coach is Mike McQueary, the Nittany Lions' current receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Paterno says specific actions alleged to have occurred in the grand jury report were not relayed to him.
Paterno said he understands people are angry, but he asked to also let the legal process unfold.
The entire text of Paterno's statement follows:
"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
"Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.
"As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are."
The story will be updated in Monday's Mirror.