Joe Paterno Was Reportedly Aware of Sandusky Allegations Since 1976

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had known of sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky since 1976.

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Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had known about the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse allegations since 1976, according to a court filing obtained by PennLive. The court order from an insurance coverage case included the following line: "In 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky."

There were also incidents cited from 1987 and 1988, both involving unnamed assistant coaches witnessing Sandusky using inappropriate physical contact on children. The filing also claims one 1988 case was presented to Penn State's athletic director.

"There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU," the case's judge wrote.

The Paterno family's attorney released a statement in response. "Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno," Wick Sollers wrote. "To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate. An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky."

Paterno died in January 2012 and was never charged with any crimes. His statue at Penn State's football stadium was taken down in the summer of 2012.

Many Penn State loyalists have clung to the belief that Paterno, who racked up the most coaching wins in Division I history (409), was either unaware of the abuse or was deceived by Sandusky, the 72-year-old convicted child molester who coached at Penn State for more than 30 years. Sandusky is currently serving 30-60 years in prison.

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