Professor: Allegations weren't clear to Paterno
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A longtime Penn State University professor wrote a letter earlier this month recounting his last conversation with former head football coach Joe Paterno that bolsters claims by university administrators that they were not made aware that an incident in the locker room showers in 2001 involving Jerry Sandusky was sexual in nature.
On Wednesday, as part of a media blitz in which attorneys for former president Graham Spanier attacked the findings of the Freeh report, the letter was released.
In it, Gary J. Gray, a finance professor and former football player at Penn State, said he sat down with Paterno in his home on Dec. 6 for about 20 minutes.
"I mostly listened to him," Mr. Gray said in an interview Wednesday evening. "I got one question in. I wasn't an inquisitor. I didn't lead the conversation."
During their visit, Mr. Paterno recounted the talk he had in February 2001 with then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary about an incident he witnessed in a football team locker room between Mr. Sandusky and a young boy.
"Coach said that McQueary was sitting in the same kitchen chair where I was now seated," Mr. Gray wrote in his letter. "Mike was fidgeting, Paterno said. He was sort of stuttering, mumbling softly as if he didn't know how to say the things he wanted to say. Joe said that McQueary had told him that he had seen Jerry engaged in horseplay or horsing around with a young boy. McQueary wasn't sure what was happening, but he said that it made him feel uncomfortable."
Mr. Gray wrote in his letter that it was clear to him that Paterno didn't know anything about other allegations against Mr. Sandusky until after he was charged.
The one question asked by Mr. Gray to Paterno was whether he forced Mr. Sandusky into retirement.
Paterno said he did not. Instead, he said Mr. Sandusky spent too much time with his charity and "could never be a successful head coach here or anywhere else because he would always be torn between football and the Second Mile."
Paterno said he would not support him for the job.
Mr. Gray sent the letter to Penn State president Rodney Erickson and the board of trustees on Aug. 9 to make sure Paterno's feelings on the matter were aired.
"Joe never did get the opportunity to talk to the trustees, the president or Freeh," he said. "But he did talk to me, and I thought that it might be a good idea to share that with people it was important to."
In the letter, Mr. Gray talks about the close relationship he once had with Mr. Sandusky, and how he felt misled and betrayed by him.
"He has a charisma," Mr. Gray said in the interview. "There's something very likable and believable.
"I don't think for one second there's a conspiracy. Everybody believed in Jerry."
First Published August 23, 2012 12:00 am