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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) — Penn State University announced late Tuesday that it will appoint a special committee to investigate allegations surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and his sex abuse scandal.
“We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky,” Penn State said in a statement released late Tuesday night. “We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action.”
The Penn State board of trustees will appoint a special committee to “undertake a full and complete investigation” of the Sandusky affair. Its mission will be “to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable.”
The board said it will not tolerate violation of its principles of honesty, integrity and high moral standards.
“We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the university,” the statement said.
A grand jury report this week presented graphic and shocking allegations against Sandusky, claiming that while heading up the Second Mile charity home for at-risk youth in State College, Pa., he sexually abused eight boys between the ages of 10 and 13.
Once considered Paterno’s heir apparent, Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.
In one incident, the report alleges, a Penn State graduate assistant – since identified as published reports as Nittany Lions wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary – walked into the locker room at the Lasch Football Building on campus one day in March 2002. He found Sandusky engaging in sex with a young boy.
He left distraught and called his father, then reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno. Paterno immediately reported to the incident to his own boss, athletic director Tm Curley, who now faces charges of perjury for lying to the grand jury about the matter.
Also charged with perjury is Penn State senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz, who told a grand jury he knew of an earlier 1998 investigation of sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky.
Paterno is not a target of the criminal investigation, but a report Tuesday indicated that he could be stepping down “within days or weeks.”
Paterno had been set to have his weekly press conference Tuesday, but Penn State officials canceled it about 40 minutes before it was about to start.