"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season."
The possibility of the head football coach's departure has been speculated, even urged by some, since the scandal broke.
A grand jury presentment led to Sandusky's arrest on 40 charges of sexually abusing eight boys, including two as young as 7 or 8.
Two university officials - athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz - were charged with failing to report sex-abuse allegations and with perjury.
No legal charges were made against Paterno, but the grand jury presentment suggested he knew about a 2002 incident and, although he told Curley and Schultz, never alerted law enforcement.
In that incident, Sandusky allegedly sodomized a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the football complex, and it was witnessed by receivers coach Mike McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time.
McQueary told Paterno, who notified Curley and Schultz, who reportedly informed Penn State president Graham Spanier, whose tenure may also be near an end.
A change in Penn State's leadership is needed unless some better explanations emerge, said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.
Spanier's departure could happen today, a source close to the trustees told the Express-Times.
Here's the rest of Paterno's statement:
"At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
"My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University."
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.